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Suicide Awareness Week: Clutha Crash Survivor Michael Byrnes talks about Saving Lives by Opening up

Michael Byrnes has overcome traumatic life events such as witnessing his mother stab his father during a violent altercation, the violent murder of his father in 1996, losing twins through miscarriage, divorce, surviving the Clutha Disaster in 2013 and now he’s sharing the importance of opening up.

This week marks suicide awareness week and now Michael is taking this chance to let people into some of his experience in the hopes it can help other people open up about their challenges.

He said: “The statistics shows that one in four people will  struggle with their mental health at any given time.

“If you just take that into the context of Scotland, in a rough arithmetical point, at any point in time there could be one and a half million of us in Scotland struggling with our mental health at any given time. The last thing you are is alone, so let’s have a conversation, let’s talk.”

NHS Tayside are also taking the opportunity to help share the resources which are available in Perth and Kinross.

NHS Tayside Public Health Consultant Dr Jane Bray said: “Suicide Prevention Week is an opportunity for us to raise awareness of suicide, encouraging people to talk about it openly and to get support.  

“Each and every suicide is a tragedy and has a profound and long lasting impact on families, friends and communities. Across Tayside we are working hard to prevent suicide. We have established a new multi-agency Tayside Suicide Prevention Network which brings together expertise from across Tayside in order to increase the effectiveness and impact of suicide prevention activity. 

“COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone and it has highlighted the importance of mental health and wellbeing for us all. Suicide prevention is everybody’s business and we all have a role to play.  

“Everyone should be able to share how they feel and talk about their mental health. Please remember that if you or someone you love is going through a difficult time, there is support available.” 

More information on support available in Scotland for suicide can be found on: http://suicidehelp.co.uk/

Information on healthy living can be found on: https://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/OurServicesA-Z/MentalHealthandLearningDisabilityServices/PROD_342608/index.htm

Michael’s organisation can be found on: https://www.livedexperiencetraumasupport.com/

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