A DOTING dad from Greenock who contemplated taking his own life last year is now volunteering to help stop other men from going down a similar path.

Lee Smith suffered a mental breakdown in November last year after he struggled to come to terms with the coronavirus lockdown and splitting up from his partner.

The dad-of-two had reached out to local mental health services, including Crown House, but said he was faced with an extensive waiting list and could not access the instant support he so desperately needed.

In one final bid to get himself mentally well for the sake of his two daughters, he reached out to local suicide prevention group Man On Inverclyde, to join their online Zoom support network.

Now, after five months, Lee says 'he is a different person'.

Not only has his mental health reovered, he has taken over running the fortnightly meetings to give back to those who helped him.

The 28-year-old said: "I had found myself in a really bad place last November.

"I didn't know what to do.

"I was feeling suicidal, anxious and depressed and I was struggling as O wasn't getting to see my wee girls.

"I reached out to Man On and was invited along to their online support group that night.

"At first I just sat with my computer camera and microphone off and listened, but the guys put me so at ease.

"It didn't even feel like going to therapy, more like just talking to mates.

"I genuinely would not be here if it wasn't for Man On.

"I cannot thank them enough for what they've helped me achieve."

As well as supporting Lee mentally, the group also provided him with a Tesco voucher to purchase food when he had nothing in his fridge.

The dad to one-year-old Ellie Louise and Lily Sarah, who is six-months old, told the Tele: "The group really have helped me turn my life around.

"Family and friends all say they see a huge change in me.

"I was struggling so much at one point I didn't have food in at all, so the guys got together and organised the voucher for me.

"It's like a real family - I genuinely look forward to seeing everyone and it's truly amazing the changes that I've been able to make in such a short time.

"I've went from rock bottom to the top of a mountain and now have a support network I'd only ever dreamed of.

"The guys support me and my wee girls and I cannot thank them enough."

In a bid to give back to the group, Lee - along with a fellow volunteer - has taken charge of fortnightly Tuesday evening Zoom sessions at the request of group founder, Chris Paul.

Lee said: "Chris is genuinely the best guy, he doesn't realise how much of an impact he has had on so many people's lives.

"To do what he does is phenomenal and I feel so proud of him and Man On, but also myself.

"I know how much of an impact this organisation has had on me, so to be able to do that for other people is humbling.

"We have a high suicide rate here in Inverclyde - especially amongst men - so if I can even help just one person I'll be genuinely so happy.

"It's given me a sense of purpose and I feel on top of the world and hope I can help others feel like this too."

As well as running fortnightly sessions for men, Man On Inverclyde have recently started female support sessions on Zoom too.

For more information, visit the Man On Inverclyde Facebook page or www.manoninverclyde.co.uk