Hearing the truth before it is too late.

The young man in the press conference room at the AVIVA last May looked too young to be a football manager.

He did his business with the hack pack appropriately.

Over those few days it was possible to pick up the gra that the Welsh hack pack had for Gary Speed.

It is being widely reported by news agencies that the young manager took his own life.

At 42 I hope his death has meaning.

As visitors here will know suicide prevention is something that has engaged me for over a decade.

It is an utter waste and a tragedy from which there is no recovery for the person who dies by their own hand and for the people, often devastated by guilt, who are  left behind.

Yesterday I received a text from someone who once saved my life.

The text was to tell me about this project.


Fair play to the man from Mayo because this is job for all of us.

Obviously I don’t know the facts over Gary’s last days.

However many men who complete suicide don’t seek help for what tortures them.

To create a climate in which men see it as acceptable for them to ask for help is something that has spurred me on from magazine article to book to being Amnesty’s poster child for depression.


There is help there in a myriad of ways that you never thought existed.

It is possible to break out of the condemned cell that your mind can become.

For the book I interviewed scores of men who had stepped back from the edge.

It was often the simplest thing that made them halt.

They had hesitated and they had lived.

I know the feeling.

The young man sitting a few feet from me in that press room should be alive today.

I hope his death has lasting meaning in the, mainly male, football community within these islands and beyond.

Don’t just read this and nod in silent agreement do something practical, become useful.


I’ve completed this training and it’s excellent. It lasts two days and it really works. I’ve used the skills “in anger” and I prevented a good man from taking his life of that I am as sure as anything. You don’t need any special training or qualification to go on an ASIST course you just need to care.

The course is run like a medical first aid course. If you’ve been on one of them then you’ll know how easy it is to save the life of an unconscious person by clearing their airway.

In suicide prevention it is more straightforward than you think.

Even if you don’t have any training in this field if you’re worried about someone then trust your instincts.

You are probably correct to be worried. Nature gave you those gut feelings, trust them.

Listen to the person you are worried about, don’t leave them alone and DO use the “S” word.

Mention suicide, don’t beat around the bush.

Actually ask them if they’re considering suicide and use the word.

Just doing this could save a life.

If the terrors of living are starting to outweigh the terrors of dying then please, in whatever way you can, reach out.

There is help there.

Suicide is NEVER the answer.

Choose life.

Always choose life.


Sadly that message doesn’t always get through and we must not judge those who, for whatever reason, do not hear that truth in time.

Rest easy Gary.

Ni fyddwn yn anghofio chi.

Discover Phil’s dramatic play Rebellion