Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide that some readers may find upsetting.
This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield has thanked his loved ones – including wife Steph, daughters Ruby and Molly, and his friend and co-host Holly Willoughby – for their help and support as he opened up about his recent mental health issues.
On today's (September 24) This Morning, Holly and Phil were joined by CALM CEO Simon Gunning to discuss the recent news that official figures show that the suicide rate for men in England and Wales in 2019 is the highest it's been for two decades.
During the segment, Phillip opened up about his own mental health journey, and he also thanked his loved ones for their "enormous" help recently.
"Over the next few weeks I will be talking quite a lot about my mental health and where my head has been in recent times," Phillip said.
"It's surprising how you think you've got a grip on everything and suddenly your head takes you to dark and scary places.
"You say that loved ones can be instrumental in helping and there's no question I needed a lot of help in recent times with people who sit right beside me right now (co-host Holly Willoughby), who helped me enormously. Steph, my wife at home, my girls, my family… and loved ones can be instrumental in helping."
The presenter continued to add that he was "lucky" to have such a strong support group around him, and stressed the importance of reaching out to someone – either a helpline or the people around you – if you feel like you need help.
"I understand and realise that not everyone is as lucky as I am to have sympathetic ears to listen to," he added.
"Or people that can even understand how you can help someone just by listening but the first point surely has to be: reach out to the people that know you the best and hopefully you can find a rock that you can tie yourself to."
Speaking afterwards, Phillip admitted that it got "very dark" for him before he came out and explained that things felt "hopeless".
"There is no doubt living with this kind of secret can take people to the darkest of places," he said.
"And there is no question for me it got very dark, because it felt hopeless. There is no question, in those moments, when I couldn't see a way forward, it was Steph and my girls – through their strength – who hauled me back.
"But I understand completely why so many men and women in this country get to the point of suicide," he added.
"I had Steph and I had my girls and I don't think I could have left them like that. But if I hadn't have had their support, then who knows?"
This Morning airs weekdays from 10am on ITV.
We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk) or CALM on 0800 58 58 58 (www.thecalmzone.net).
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