Mrs Brown’s Boys star Gary Hollywood backs teenage mental health helpline


Gary Hollywood with FAMS founder Ann Marie Cocozza

Mrs Brown’s Boys star Gary Hollywood is teaming up with a mental health charity to help prevent teen suicide.

The multi-BAFTA’s winning actor said has is deeply concerned about the numbers of young people needing mental health support because of lockdown.

He is backing award winning charity FAMS to encourage teens to phone their chatline to get support.

Gary said: “I’ve got teenage children myself, so I know how important it is to make sure they known they can speak out and get the support they need when they need it.

“FAMS are doing incredible work reaching out to hundreds of young people and their families every week, and I know they really are life savers.

“Lockdown has brought lots of pressures, problems and worries for everyone, and its best to speak about how you are feeling to someone who knows how to give the support needed for any kind of distress.

“The FAMS teams are there, 24 hours a day, with a listening ear and friendly advice on all sorts of issues from loneliness to worrying about relationships.”

Gary Hollywood with the FAMS team

The charity, run by Ann Marie Cocozza, has been a lifeline since it launched seven years ago.

Just days ago new research showed 51 per cent of Scottish youngsters have suffered with stress during lockdown,

Ann Marie said: “We’re delighted to have Gary on board as he’s a wonderful ambassador for what we are doing, and understands the huge rise in stress and anxiety the Covid-19 pandemic has brought.

“Calls to our helplines have quadrupled to almost a thousand a week, and we expect things will continue like this for at least the next couple of years which is why we are determined to boost the level of support we have available to people who need it.

“We’ve dealt with families who’ve lost teenagers as young as 15 to suicide, and know of others as young as 12 years old who’ve lost all hope and feel suicide is their only option.

“We’ve also been helping families where adults have taken their lives, and it’s very hard for them to come to terms with.

“It’s something we need to talk about if we are ever going to prevent these tragedies in future, and we must remember that suicide is a family affair. If someone takes their life, it affects everyone in their family.”

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