'I owe my life to my friend': Caller shares mental health story after Simone Biles withdrawal

29 July 2021, 16:41

By Tim Dodd

In a moving conversation on mental health, this caller told Shelagh Fogarty he 'owes his life' to the friend he opened up to, after he was signed off of work for anxiety and depression.

The conversation comes as US gymnastics star Simone Biles has withdrawn from her second Olympic final in two days, citing the need to "focus on her mental health".

Carl in Plymouth told Shelagh: "I've been off work for nine weeks, and I returned two weeks ago. I'm on a phased return. And the support from my company has been fantastic.

"I was on a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy course and honest to god, the 6 weeks of the course really showed me the light.

"I was suffering with anxiety, depression, and stress... There was too much going on with Covid and we've had a lot of issues within my company, and I was at the forefront of it and just taking the burden."

Read more: Simone Biles pulls out of women's team final at Tokyo Olympics citing mental health

Carl then said that now he's back at work he is being supported well by his employer: "They've prepaid for 15 counselling sessions if I need it."

Shelagh asked: "What was it that made you think 'alarm bell', I need to get some help?"

Read more: Olympics: James O'Brien's response to people 'attacking' Simone Biles over withdrawal

Carl replied: "A good friend of mine took the time out, and I spoke to him.

"He was just like mate, seriously, get help."

"And how helpful was it for you for him to take that completely seriously and really hear you?" Shelagh asked.

"Oh 100%, I can honestly say I owe my life to my friend," said Carl, "Friends, family, they mean a lot. Wellbeing... it means so much."