Chris Packham opens up on feeling ‘suicidal’ after sad loss and what saved him

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Naturalist Chris Packham has opened up about a dark time when he wanted to end his life after his dog bled to death in his arms.

In a new interview, the Autumnwatch presenter spoke of the solace he found in animals, particularly after years of being bullied at school, brutal trolling and physical threats in more recent times.

With a particular love for his dogs, Chris, 62, admitted to ending up in “some really dangerous places” when they would sadly die.

One such moment was when he lost his beloved pet pooch Fish, who was run over and bled to death in his arms just a year into having him.

The tragedy led to Chris thinking the worst and feeling like he wanted to end it all.

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Speaking on The Mirror’s Our Men in Mind podcast, in association with the charity Mind, he said: “I was suicidal… but I didn’t have enough pills. That’s what it came down to.”

The presenter said the triggering thought led him to seek help from a doctor, who suggested therapy.

He said of the time: “It was like I got hit by a train.

“It was like I was winded, I could barely breathe because of everything that was coming out and it had been locked up for so long.”

The aim of the sessions was to help him build up a “framework” to help him deal with similar trauma if it happened again.

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Despite this, Chris said there was a time he came “close to killing myself” again while spending a lot of time on his own in France.

He added: “What kept me alive were the dogs, I just looked down and I thought, ‘I can’t leave them’.

“It was the fact that there wasn’t anyone else at that point who could have loved them as much as I did.”

Chris previously discussed how the sudden loss of Fish had been “really damaging” to his mental wellbeing.

Speaking to Radio Times Magazine, he recalled how his dog had been “bouncing around the car like poodles do” and “then he was gone”.

“I fell into a deep and intense depression, into a dark place where everything seemed to fall apart.”

Following Fish’s death, he was gifted with two new poodles, who he once described as “the best dogs in the world”.

To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email [email protected] or visit some branches in person.

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