A COURAGEOUS Port charity champ who tried to take his own life hopes that by speaking out his story will help to save lives.

Joe Quinn has devoted his life to raising money for the British Heart Foundation since his beloved dad Edward passed away at the age of just 36 from chronic heart disease.

Around the anniversary of his father's death earlier this year, Joe, who is normally bubbly and happy, started to feel depressed.

At the same time his gran became very unwell and he struggled to cope with work and daily life.

Feeling very low, his sadness suddenly turned into despair.

Joe could see no way out and tried to take his own life on three occasions.

Thankfully the 23-year-old of Rona Avenue has since received the help and support he so desperately needed and got his life back on track.

Joe hopes that by sharing his experiences, he will encourage other people going through similar heartache will speak up.

Joe said: "It was round about the time of my dad's anniversary when I started to feel depressed.

"I was also feeling stressed in work and then my gran took not well.

"It was like a bomb waiting to explode.

"I constantly felt sad.

"When I woke up in the morning it was a struggle to get up and a struggle to find the motivation to do anything.

"That's when things happened.

"At one point I went up to my dad's grave.

"I was very depressed and I felt like I had hit rock bottom."

Joe says he felt very alone in the world and felt like the only way out was to end his life.

He said: "Three times I attempted to end my own life over three months."

Luckily the police intervened and Joe was immediately referred for help.

He said: "I've been going to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which has really helped me.

"It changes your mindset and makes you take a step back and ask 'is it really as bad as you think?'.

"For me my downfall is overthinking and thinking the worst.

"But I'm now taking each day as it comes and I'm taking a step back and looking at the positives."

Joe hopes that his story will raise awareness of mental health issues.

He said: "I just feel that if I can talk about it then local people can see that it's easier than they think to talk about how they're feeling.

"Talking does help."

Joe is also calling for large organisations, including schools, colleges, universities and workplaces, to have at least one person, such as a first aider, trained in recognising the signs of and dealing with mental health issues.

He said: "I've spoken to health professionals about it and they believe it's a brilliant idea.

"When I was feeling depressed, I isolated myself from my workmates.

"I felt like people didn't know what to do or what to say to me.

"I think maybe they were scared to talk to me.

"That's why I think it would be great if it was mandatory for all organisations to have a first aider who is trained in mental health who can look out for the warning signs.

"If you work with the same people from Monday to Friday you know their habits and their characters.

"So if someone is down in the dumps the mental health first aider could step in and if needs be refer them to their GP.

"This would also save organisations a lot of money as millions of days are lost to mental health and it costs businesses money."

Joe says he has had a lot of support from Stuart McMillan, the area's SNP MSP about his idea.

He added: "Stuart McMillan's office have been really supportive."

Joe has now secured a new job and says he has a renewed zest for life and is looking forward to a holiday in Wales.

He believes he is much more equipped now to look forward to the future.

He said: "Tomorrow is a new day, it's going to have new challenges and ups and downs to experience."