Belfast Telegraph

Support offered to those in need following tragic death of acclaimed barman Christian Grey

Christian Grey, who passed away on Monday
Christian Grey, who passed away on Monday

Several offers of support have been made for those in distress following the tragic death of acclaimed barman Christian Grey.

Mr Grey, who was from Ballymena, took his own life on Monday after he went missing from the Tobernaveen mental health centre in Antrim.

Just hours before his death the former Ballymena Academy and Cambridge House Grammar School pupil spoke of his mental health issues on social media.

In a Facebook post uploaded on Monday evening, the 29-year-old said he been receiving treatment for bipolar disorder for the last seven months.

"It's something I've struggled with for years now and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," he added.

"Unfortunately, this is a battle I'm not going to win."

He said he didn't believe he was taking his own life, but that his illness had taken it from him.

Following Mr Grey's sudden death, scores of people took to social media to urge those in distress to reach out and talk to someone.

One man, Tommy McKelvey from Cookstown, even posted his own phone number on the Belfast Telegraph Facebook page offering support.

Mr McKelvey said that, while he is not a mental health expert, it was "heartbreaking" young people feel they cannot talk to someone about their problems.

Another user, Sharon McAuley, echoed his sentiment, writing: "I'm with you there... anyone who needs to talk no matter what time or when I'm a good listener...pm [private message] anytime... We need to be there for each other."

Others urged those struggling to speak to someone.

One wrote: "I’ve been there, trust me, to that point and have come out the other side and all because I spoke to a complete stranger who struck a cord with me and put things into perspective.

"Don’t ever give in, we can always find happiness again, you have to let yourself be given help."

Mr Grey previously worked at the Galgorm Resort and was nominated for the Northern Ireland Bartender of the Year award in 2014.

He also made headlines in 2012 when he changed his name from Gary Crawford to Christian Grey - the main character in the best-selling Fifty Shades Of Grey books and movies.

Speaking at the time of his award nomination, Mr Grey said that, while he could have gone to university after achieving good A-level results, he fell in love with bartending and dreamt of opening his own bar and restaurant.

"I think anyone with ambition would like to do that, but I'm not in any rush," he said at the time. "I'm only in my early 20s and who knows what the future might hold for me here."

He added: "I think it's a great career. I certainly don't want to work anywhere else."

If you or anyone close to you is affected by any issues in this article, please contact the Samaritans free on 116123 or Lifeline on 080 8808 8000.

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