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Sunrise: How weather presenter Sam Mac saved a viewer from suicide

Sunrise weatherman and mental health advocate Sam Mac has revealed he often receives messages on social media from people in crisis contemplating suicide.

The Seven presenter, 38, told the TV Blackbox podcast last week it can sometimes be ‘overwhelming’ when so many people contact him asking for help.

Sam said he has to ‘brace [himself] for a couple of hundred personal messages on Facebook’ whenever he talks about depression or suicide on Sunrise. 

‘Overwhelming’: Sunrise weatherman and mental health advocate Sam Mac has revealed he often receives messages on social media from people in crisis contemplating suicide

‘That’s heavy. A woman wrote to me and said she was planning to hang herself. It doesn’t get much heavier than that,’ he added.

‘You need to take that very seriously, which I do.

‘I’m very upfront. I’m not a professional, I’m not a psychiatrist and I’m not going to be your counsellor, but I can definitely give you some thoughts and hopefully guide you in the direction of getting help.’ 

Sam believes people going through difficult times often feel a strong connection with breakfast TV because mornings can be the most challenging part of their day.

And due to the light-hearted nature of his segments, he finds that many people struggling to get out of bed because of depression rely on him to lift their spirits.

'A woman wrote to me and said she was planning to hang herself': The Seven presenter, 38, said it can sometimes be 'overwhelming' when so many people contact him asking for help

‘A woman wrote to me and said she was planning to hang herself’: The Seven presenter, 38, said it can sometimes be ‘overwhelming’ when so many people contact him asking for help

For example, a former Victoria Police officer with post-traumatic stress disorder once told Sam his ‘silly jokes’ on Sunrise were a lifeline.

Sam explained: ‘He came down and met me at one of my crosses in Geelong, and he said, “I want to shake your hand and thank you… You’ve had a really positive influence in my life and now I have the confidence to apply for other jobs again.”

‘That’s so rewarding for me. I love those experiences.’ 

‘There’s something extremely powerful about that time of day because there’s an intimacy that comes with breakfast TV and breakfast radio,’ Sam continued.

‘People watching breaky TV… it’s the first face they [see] at the start of the day, so there’s an element of trust that comes with that and, in time, there’s a very powerful connection.’

Important: Sam has dedicated a chapter to mental health in his new autobiography, Accidental Weatherman, and said it was 'the hardest chapter to write, but the most important'

Important: Sam has dedicated a chapter to mental health in his new autobiography, Accidental Weatherman, and said it was ‘the hardest chapter to write, but the most important’

Sam has dedicated a chapter to mental health in his new autobiography, Accidental Weatherman, and said it was ‘the hardest chapter to write, but the most important’. 

He concluded: ‘I love that I can use my platform, whether it’s social media or Sunrise, to encourage more men to have these conversations… about mental health.’

In May 2020, Sam revealed how he’d helped save a suicidal viewer’s life the previous year with a simple yet powerful gesture.

A female fan had reached out to him during a very dark moment in their life, and the TV funnyman took time out of his day to listen to them.

'You helped me not hang myself': In May 2020, Sam revealed how he'd helped save a suicidal viewer's life the previous year with a simple yet powerful gesture

‘You helped me not hang myself’: In May 2020, Sam revealed how he’d helped save a suicidal viewer’s life the previous year with a simple yet powerful gesture

Sam shared a screenshot of a text he’d received from the woman, who wanted to thank him for being a sympathetic ear in her time of need. 

‘I think you are great and are helping many people. I’m so glad you have a partner now,’ the viewer wrote, referencing Sam’s then-girlfriend Elle Whittaker. (He is now dating stylist Rebecca James.)

They added: ‘I know you get lots of messages and too many to read, but last year I told you how you helped me not hang myself.

‘I kept thinking about what you said about your friend and how it affects everyone left behind, so I got the courage to tell my husband and got help from there.’

Sympathetic ear: A female fan had reached out to him during a very dark moment in their life, and the TV funnyman took time out of his day to listen to them

Sympathetic ear: A female fan had reached out to him during a very dark moment in their life, and the TV funnyman took time out of his day to listen to them

Simple act of kindness: Sam shared a screenshot of a text he'd received from the woman, who wanted to thank him for being a sympathetic ear in her time of need

Simple act of kindness: Sam shared a screenshot of a text he’d received from the woman, who wanted to thank him for being a sympathetic ear in her time of need

Sam explained that he remembered their conversation, which took place in 2019, and that he was proud of the woman for sharing their experience.

‘It’s confronting, but particularly given what’s happening in the world at the moment these conversations are more important than ever,’ he wrote in the caption.

‘There is always someone to talk to. Your friend, your partner, your family, or a professional… The smallest conversation can be life changing.’

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