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Life Changing

We said we’d never talk about it again


On the evening of Friday 29 November 2013, Michael Byrne was having a drink with a friend in a bar in Glasgow. They'd gone to see a band and had only been there for about an hour when suddenly it felt like everything had been shaken up – as if they were in snowglobe. Amid the chaos of falling debris Michael’s actions helping others were heroic, and afterwards to his wife and colleagues he seemed to be just fine. In the aftermath of this disaster he and his friend had agreed not to speak about what they’d been through in a misguided effort to ‘protect’ themselves. But Michael was struggling to cope and the more time that passed without talking about it, the worse things got for him.

Confronting the experience would bring back traumatic memories from his early life and push him to a place where he contemplated suicide. He was stopped by a chance event – and then began seriously to address his mental health.

Now Michael has founded an organisation called Lived Experience Trauma Support to provide mental health training and support services to businesses.

The tragedy in 2013 was caused by a police helicopter that crashed into the roof of the Clutha Vaults in Glasgow. It claimed the lives of the pilot, his two crew members and seven customers in the pub that night.

If you are looking for details of organisations offering information and support with mental health you can find them at bbc.co.uk/actionline. To get in touch with the programme, or to share your personal story, you can email us at: lifechanging@bbc.co.uk