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I know pain of depression -- Nikki

Radio presenter Nikki Hayes has opened up about her own battle with depression in the wake of Gary Speed's tragic death.

And she is urging anyone going through a similar ordeal to reach out and talk to someone about how low they're feeling.

The Spin 103.8 presenter (32), who revealed how she tried to take her own life when she was younger, said she was deeply saddened by the news of the Wales manager's passing.

She said she knows what a "lonely place" the world can feel like sometimes.

"My heart goes out to his family, so close to Christmas.

"I've lost two good friends to suicide in the last few years and there's no point in speculating about what might have happened. The only person who can answer that is him and he can't now.

"As someone who tried to take my own life when I was younger, if anyone is suffering with pressures or depression, they should reach out and talk to someone as there is help out there."

Mr Speed was found hanged at his Cheshire home by his wife Louise in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The soccer world has been left reeling in the wake of his shock death with tributes pouring in from all his sporting luminaries.

And Nikki said that this time of year can often a particularly difficult time for people who are susceptible to depression.

"I think especially coming so close to Christmas, we need to take a closer look at those around us and if someone seems sad or burdened, we should take five seconds to ask them, 'are you okay?'," she continued.

"Someone can be hurting very much without showing outward signs. More people have been there than you will ever know. Depression and anxiety disorders are not a sign of weakness," she added.

The former RTE DJ has bravely opened up about her battle with an eating disorder when she was a teenager. Her weight dropped to just six stone and she had to be hospitalised when she was 16.

She also had to deal with the death of her beloved father Pat from cancer in May 2007 which she says sent her "off the rails" for a while.

If you are worried about yourself or someone who may be depressed contact Aware for help on 1890 303 302.

mfinn@herald.ie


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