Alliance councillor David Armitage opens his heart on depression battle
An Alliance Party councillor has opened up about his struggle with depression and suicide attempts to encourage people experiencing mental health difficulties to have hope and embrace life.
Speaking to the media for the first time to mark World Suicide Prevention Day today, David Armitage said he hoped that by sharing his personal story others will be inspired to seek help.
"Every day is a new day," he said. "Suicide has been described as a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
"People need to know there are people who can help you get better and overcome problems and get a better quality of life."
David, originally from Bradford, has been living in east Belfast for two decades.
The 47-year-old is an Alliance councillor for the Titanic ward and also a part-time trainer for students with disabilities in Holywood, Co Down.
Last night he spoke movingly of the journey he has been on since he was a teenager, at a time when mental health was still very much a taboo subject.
"Since I was a teenager I suffered from depression," he said.
David's GP in east Belfast helped him with a befriending service for people with mental health problems.
With the support of friends he is embracing life and would like anyone feeling distressed to reach out to someone and talk about it.
"I enjoy life now," he said.
"I see it as every day being a gift from God."
If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if necessary. You can also access the Lifeline website at www.lifelinehelpline.info