Josh Quigley deliberately crashed his car and was rushed to hospital – he had been suffering from depression and felt his life wasn’t worth living any more.
But after surviving the suicide attempt last year, the 23-year-old from Livingston turned his life around, and will be raising awareness about mental health issues all over the world – in a bid to let people know help can be found.
After I survived, I realised there must have been a reason why I was still here and my mindset changed completely.John Quigley
Yesterday, Josh, also known as the Tartan Explorer, returned to Edinburgh Castle after cycling 1500 miles around Scotland.
This is just the start of his 50,000-mile mission across the globe, to help those suffering from depression and to raise awareness of suicide prevention.
He said: “For years I suffered from depression and mental health issues and I don’t know what caused it.
“Last year it got really intense and I decided that I was going to try and take my own life.
“I crashed my car into a concrete barrier on the M8 when I was driving at 80mph and ended up in hospital.
“After I survived that, I realised there must have been a reason why I was still here and my mindset changed completely.
“Now I think to myself it would have been such a shame if I had died at the age of 22, and that’s why I want to help others.”
Josh, a former pupil of Deans Community High School, began his bike journey across the country on Friday, March 25, and it took him just 28 days to complete. He said he met “loads of nice people” along the way, who helped him find accommodation and gave him meals.
Josh said: “One of the things that stuck out about the journey most for me was some of the beaches in Stornoway.
“They were just out of this world, I found it hard to believe I was in Scotland.
“Another thing was the cycling itself – I underestimated how hard it would be.
“It was challenging both mentally and physically – as soon as I was getting a rest from the bike I would be talking to a groups of people about my story. It was worth it in the end, though, and I’m looking forward to cycling around the world.”
Josh will embark on his mission across the globe on May 26 – exactly one year to the day after his suicide attempt.
He will be cycling to more than 80 countries on six continents, telling his story and encouraging people to talk about mental health.
Dianna Manson, a community champion based in Edinburgh for See Me, a mental health charity, said: “Considering the massive contribution made by Josh, in his major anti-stigma and awareness campaign, we See Me community champions will welcome him as he journeys to our own areas throughout Scotland, and feel immensely privileged to be part of it all.”