Chris Kirkland went public with his stay at a rehabilitation centre in order to encourage others struggling with their mental health to seek help.

The former Liverpool goalkeeper used Twitter last week to reveal he had been spending time at Parkland Place in North Wales to receive the assistance he required. 

He did so to reiterate to those experiencing similar problems that talking to somebody is the first step on the road to recovery. 

"Absolutely, that's why I did it," the 38-year-old says. "I didn't do it for sympathy, I didn't do it for that. 

"I was going to wait until I finished it in a couple of weeks' time, but I thought, 'Why wait when it could help someone now?'. So that's why I put it out there. 

"Everyone has their struggles, everyone struggles to cope at times and when you talk, it does make things a lot easier. 

"Obviously people find it difficult but once you do, you can start to see clearer then. It's still a long way to go but until you do talk then you've got no chance."

Firmly into his rehab, Kirkland and his family are already noticing vast improvements thanks to the care of professionals. 

He acknowledges there are still many hurdles to overcome but is reassured by the thought he won't be alone during the process. 

"Chalk and cheese – it really is," Kirkland says of his current state. "It's draining, it's tough when you're there. 

"I've met a lot of great people there already, other people that are in there, the staff – you get close very quickly because you're in that environment. But it is tough listening to people about their own troubles, but you're there to help each other. 

"But as I said, it's needed. They break you down and then build you back up again piece by piece. We're getting there, it's fantastic. 

"Leeona [his wife] has seen a big difference, Lucy [his daughter] has seen a huge difference and I can feel it as well. 

"I just feel a totally different person to the person I felt before."

Help and support is available right now if you need it. You don't have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.

The following list of organisations, drawn up by the NHS, may be able to provide help and advice.

Phone a helpline

These free helplines are there to help when you're feeling down or desperate.

Unless it says otherwise, they're open 24 hours a day, every day.

Samaritans – for everyone
Call 116 123
Text 087 2 60 90 90
Email jo@samaritans.org

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day 
Visit the webchat page

Papyrus – for people under 35
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 5pm 
Text 07786 209697 
Email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Childline – for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111 – the number won't show up on your phone bill

The Silver Line – for older people
Call 0800 4 70 80 90

Zero Suicide Alliance
ZSA is a collaborative of NHS trusts, businesses and individuals who are all committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond. Watch their free 20-minute suicide prevention training clip here.

Talk to someone you trust

Let family or friends know what's going on for you. They may be able to offer support and help keep you safe.

There's no right or wrong way to talk about suicidal feelings – starting the conversation is what's important.

Who else you can talk to

If you find it difficult to talk to someone you know, you could:

  • call your GP – ask for an emergency appointment
  • call 111 out of hours – they will help you find the support and help you need
  • contact your mental health crisis team – if you have one

Important

Is your life in danger?

If you have seriously harmed yourself – for example, by taking a drug overdose – call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E.

Or ask someone else to call 999 or take you to A&E.

Tips for coping right now

  • try not to think about the future – just focus on getting through today
  • stay away from drugs and alcohol
  • get yourself to a safe place, like a friend's house
  • be around other people
  • do something you usually enjoy, such as spending time with a pet

See more tips from Rethink.

Worried about someone else?

If you're worried about someone, try to get them to talk to you. Ask open-ended questions like: "How do you feel about...?"

Don't worry about having the answers. Just listening to what someone has to say and taking it seriously can be more helpful.

See Samaritans' tips on how to start a difficult conversation.

Rethink also has advice on how to support someone who is having suicidal thoughts.

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBs)

SOBs exists to meet the needs and break the isolation experienced by those bereaved by suicide. They are a self-help organisation and they aim to provide a safe, confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings, so giving and gaining support from each other.

SOBs
Call 0300 111 5065

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