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Male mental health: I lost my dad to suicide at 17, and then experienced depression myself

It was in the second year of college that my dad became ill with depression. As the youngest of three brothers, I had been living at home, with my middle brother at university, and my eldest brother living in London. It was so upsetting seeing Dad, who used to be full of energy, warmth and creativity, now spending his days lacking any motivation, depressed and in a very dark place.

Friends and family knew my dad as someone who had a passion for renovating classic cars, diving and filming. It was his passion for filming and diving that was the reason for starting his company in the late 70s, designing some of the first custom underwater camera housings for the likes of the BBC and ITV to film beautiful footage from under the sea.

However, during the 80s, there was a severe global economic recession hitting many businesses in the UK, and Dad’s was no exception. He ended up having to close his company.

I didn’t realise this at the time, but I am sure this must have been very upsetting for Dad, but he soon found another job, and we had many happy years as a family. I will never know what triggered my dad’s depression, but the stress of moving house in the mid-90s was when things dramatically changed

Even the simplest things seemed to be impossible for him. As a teenager seeing my dad depressed was incredibly hard, and I would get angry thinking I should be the one lying on the sofa and watching daytime TV.

As a family, we didn’t talk to anyone about my dad’s depression in the hope that he was going to get better, but it didn’t. He tried on a number of occasions to take his life and very sadly in early 1995 my dad killed himself. My brothers and I tried to be strong for our mum, but we never received any professional help or counselling as a family.

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