Former Norfolk GP who almost took own life to talk at suicide prevention event in Norwich

Dr Richard Gorrod, Service User Governor with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo

Dr Richard Gorrod, Service User Governor with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

A former Norfolk GP who has battled back from the brink of suicide will be bravely speaking out about his fight with mental illness in a bid to help others.

Richard Gorrod, a former GP and Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) service user governor, had believed he was never going to be mentally ill having been a doctor for more than 20 years.

But Mr Gorrod, who had also been a former training director for Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS) and a medical officer in the Royal Navy Reserve said he was 'knocked for six' by depression which hit him like a train.

He said: 'In retrospect I was becoming depressed for a few years but I didn't realise till I was unable to go on.

'I was frightened of anything and everything and unable to multitask or concentrate, my memory was disturbed, I couldn't sleep and I felt the only way to sort out my problems was to 'put up a drip' on myself to kill myself. I was afraid, crying about how I felt. I didn't know what was going on and even when I was diagnosed as depressed I was hankering that I had a proper illness to account for how I was!!! (Like a brain tumour !) Such is the stigma of mental illness.'

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In Norfolk there are on average 77 suicides per year. The most recent statistics identify that of these 76% were male and a significant proportion of them were aged 45-59. Mr Gorrod will be talking about his story, the help that is out there and why men are particularly susceptible to suicide at Norfolk's first Suicide Prevention Learning Event tomorrow (Tuesday, September 12) from 9.30am.

The multi-agency learning event, which takes place at The Space, Roundtree Way, Norwich, is co-ordinated by Norfolk County Council's Public Health team.

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It brings together those working with vulnerable adults or young people where suicide is a risk across the different sectors and aims to equip them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to support those affected by suicide, with a focus on prevention.

Director of Public Health Louise Smith said: 'Suicide is not inevitable and preventing it is everyone's responsibility. By bringing together all the key agencies in one event we hope to establish a driving force to tackle the issue head on.'

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