The remarks were made at a full council meeting following a presentation by directors of the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Partnership Trust.
'Mr.Rudling said: 'I certainly didn't mean to make any remarks that could cause offence to anyone who is affected by mental health issues. I apologise most profusely for any offence - it was never intended. I am writing to the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust today to apologise and to offer my support to them in their invaluable work and to everybody working in the community in mental health services.
'Most importantly I would like to make an unreserved apology to anyone who has been affected personally and I hope they understand I did not intend to hurt them in any way.''
The remarks provoked a storm of protest, including condemnation on a local discussion forum, where one user wrote: 'Perhaps their apologies could be accompanied by a substantial donation to a charity supporting those they chose to insult.'