Shane: I know how cash woes can lead to suicide
SINGER Shane Filan has said he understands how people in financial trouble can slip into depression and contemplate taking their own lives.
The Westlife star was declared bankrupt in the UK last year, with debts of €23m (€26.5m).
Discharged from bankruptcy last month, the 34-year-old is now on a promotional tour across Britain and Ireland with his first EP as a solo artist, 'Everything To Me'.
Father-of-three Filan told the Irish Independent that he feels "extremely lucky" to have been given a second chance at a career in music, but recognises that for many others in financial difficulty, suicide is seen as a way out.
"To hear stories like those is horrible and it's shocking – it's one of those things where people get lost in their problem," Filan said.
"A lot of people are going through it, whether it's a credit card or loan. Everybody is feeling it in some way, there's a lot of pressure. And if they don't have help, it can become a very scary, dark place. But luckily for me, I tried to stay positive."
He continued: "I was very scared, obviously, but you've got to keep looking forward. And I had great people. But it's very sad that people do kill themselves.
"It's very difficult that people can go to that extreme. Families are destroyed over it, but everybody is an individual and it's one of those horrible things."
Westlife achieved 14 number one singles and the band sold over 50 million records worldwide.
Filan said he's not expecting to play in arenas any time soon and is content to start from the bottom as a solo act.
"It's going to be a lot harder. Westlife got off to an unbelievable start at an unbelievable time in the industry.
"One Direction are having massive success, but the album sales aren't what they used to be. And ticket sales are also down – especially in this country."