Case study: Lee*, 40, Ireland

*name has been changed

“I’ve always been self-employed and worked hard; a bit of a workaholic really. I’ve never been out of work until just over a year ago. The last few years have taken a big toll on my life. My father died and I was very close to him.

“I was working long hours driving and I don’t know what it was, whether it was pressure, boredom or financial, but I got into gambling. I was just throwing the money on for the sake of it, but I spent a lot. I ended up borrowing money off my mates.

“Everything got on top of me; I don’t know whether it was stress related. But I’ve changed since my father died; I’m not the person I used to be. I get cranky a lot and take it out on people when I shouldn’t. Things come out my mouth which I know hurt people and my gambling has caused a lot of upset.

“I gave up work because I couldn’t take it anymore, I was going to snap. I brought a lot of pressure home to my family and things were building up. I thought if I killed myself, it would all go away and my family would be ok. It would mean that there would be no more worrying, no more arguments at home, no more harming my kid with the screaming. My relationship was going downhill. She kept kicking me out and then taking me back.

It was easier to talk to a stranger than a friend or family. I wouldn’t say half the stuff to someone I know. There’s still a long road ahead, so I just take things day by day.

“I went to see a counsellor because I needed to talk to someone I didn’t know. It was easier to talk to a stranger than a friend or family. I wouldn’t say half the stuff to someone I know. There’s still a long road ahead, so I just take things day by day. I can’t look into what I’m going to be doing next week or the week after, I just take in one day at a time.

“I’ve paid back my debts to people and I don’t owe anybody anything. So going forward, I’ll have to get back to work sometime. There’s only so much time that you can hang around as it gives you too much time to think.”