HEARTBROKEN pals of Scots wrestler Adrian McCallum say his success as a fighter stopped him from asking for help before his tragic suicide.

The iconic Lionheart fighter who grew up in Cumnock took his own life last month after secretly battling serious mental health issues.

Friends and family were stunned to find out the star was struggling and say they don’t want others to suffer like Adrian.

Steven Fludder was Adrian’s friend through all the big moments in his career, including when he broke his neck in the ring.

Now the long time pal and work colleague of the national celebrity has spoken out about how he believes his wrestler persona could have stopped him from admitting he was vulnerable and opening up.

Steven said: “Being a man struggling with mental health is hard but with Adrian it was harder because he had his wrestler complex.

Cumnock Chronicle: “He was sitting on this pedestal and was terrified to fall off, he thought if he was vulnerable it would ruin his character.

Cumnock Chronicle:

“Actors play a variety of roles but wrestlers just play one.

“They do it every single week for years and years and so you can see how the lines start to blur between you and your character.

“I have been around a lot of wrestlers for a long time, they are all scared to show weakness, and a lot are in the game so long they start to get lost in who they actually are.

“You don’t get this big strong superhero character turning around and asking for help, but why not? That is exactly what we need.

“It left all of us shocked we couldn’t believe it. He had always been the strong one and such a big character, we just didn’t see it coming.

“He is the one everyone would turn to. He owned every room he was in and honestly would have done anything for anyone.

“I think he was so concerned with helping everyone else he forgot to help himself.

“ I was completely heartbroken when I found out, I still am.”

It comes as levels more than doubled in East Ayrshire last year.

There were 26 suspected suicides between January a nd No vembe r 2 018 , compared with 12 suicide deaths in 2017.

Cumnock Chronicle:

Cumnock Chronicle: The devastating news comes as health chiefs announce an investigation into the most recent 50 cases of people who took their own lives.

Now friends and family of the wrestler want others to know how important it is to open up.

Steven said: “It is really sad how he obviously kept a lot of things hidden from other people.

“He was always so stubborn and proud, no one would have really known what was going on behind closed doors.

“Awareness needs to go up in the community, we are all talking about mental health and how it is important but what are we doing about it?

People still aren’t being honest and opening up.

“It can be simple, just be open and tell people how you really feel instead of sharing a status or viral picture with a vague quote on it.

“We need to get better at expressing ourselves and we need to encourage each other to be brave enough to do that, it will save lives.

“I think it helped a lot of people and I hope more people start being honest with how they feel, it could save their lives.”

IF you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, there are places and people to turn to. If you are feeling low or need someone to talk to or advice on your issues, please call the Samaritans (free) on 116123. Other organisations can also help if you are having problems with your mental health. The following organisations also provide support: CALM, visit www.thecalmzone. net, or call 0800 585 858. Heads Together can also help. Visit www. headstogether.org.uk or check out Mind at www. mind.org.uk.