Local man organising event after deaths

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A Derry man says he’s hopeful people will turn out in their thousands for an outdoor event being organised to demand better mental health services and a detox facility for Derry following a spate of recent tragedies.

The man said he felt compelled to act because of the public outcry for something to be done in Derry following a succession of suicide deaths resulting from mental illness and addiction issues.

The man, who has asked not be named, said he has been personally affected by many of the issues including depression, drugs and alcohol and suicidal thoughts, but has found a way through it.

He said he wants people to know that however dark or bleak their situation is, people can and do come through it.

Meetings were yesterday being organised to try and secure permission for a major outdoor rally next month. Within hours of the man announcing his intention to host such an event on Facebook this week, hundreds of people had shared details and pledged their support.

The man said: “I have lost two friends in the past year already, both of them through suicide, and I thought I should try and do something after these latest tragedies. Everybody is saying something has to be done and I am saying, ‘We are the people, we should try and do something ourselves’.

“I can’t believe the response from all over the town. I hope everybody turns out.

“I have been through hell myself, and if this helps one person in that situation it will be worth it. I went through severe depression, I was bad on drugs, I was taken away from the bridge. I was homeless, living in the back seat of my car.

“I want people to know that they can get through this but we need the support to be there. It is not just the detox, there has to be proper mental health facilities and resources to address all the other issues.

“Everybody in this town has been affected by suicide. We are coming up to Christmas, how many more people are going to be at the Foyle?”