Kirk Norcross has used the devastation of his father’s suicide to help others by speaking to dozens of people about their own mental health struggles every week.
The TV personality admits he contemplated taking his own life after discovering 57-year old dad Mick’s lifeless body at his Essex mansion in 2020.
The businessman had committed suicide after the COVID-19 pandemic caused his various projects – among them the costly redevelopment of Leigh-On-Sea’s Grand Hotel – to shut down.
Reaching out: Kirk Norcross has used the devastation of his father’s suicide to help others by speaking to dozens of people about their own mental health struggles every week
And father-of-two Kirk, who says the devastating loss sent him into a cocaine and alcohol fueled tailspin that triggered his own suicidal thoughts, is now devoted to helping others in a similar position by taking an ambassadorial role with confidential support service Papyrus.
He told new: ‘Going through something as awful as that means only one good thing, which is that you have the experience to help others.
‘I have 10 to 20 people message me a day saying they feel suicidal or feel depressed. I try my hardest to give them advice without giving them too much in case it tips them over the edge.’
He added: ‘If it wasn’t for my kids I probably wouldn’t be here myself. It’s a real honour to be ambassador for something that is so close to my heart. I want to help others. I want to urge others to talk about their feelings.’
Pushed to the brink: The TV personality admits he contemplated taking his own life after discovering 57-year old dad Mick’s lifeless body at his Essex mansion in 2020
Kirk previously revealed he planned his own suicide after going on a cocaine binge while grieving his father’s loss.
Talking to The Mirror, Kirk – who has now been clean for 10 months – said: ‘After dad died, I planned my own suicide. I wanted to die.
‘I planned what I would be wearing, what I was going to do. I was going to film a bedtime story for my kids. I had to shout myself back from the thought of it and I went to speak to my dad’s partner.’
Kirk is father to four-year-old son Harry and daughter Violett, five.
Struggles: Kirk went down a dark path, relapsing with his drug addiction and battling depression
Kirk has been suffering from PTSD since finding his father’s body, but admitted: ‘In some ways I’m pleased it was me who found him but it will be etched in my mind for the rest of my life.
‘When I realised he’d passed, I lay next to his body, kissed him on the head and said: “thank you for everything you did dad and sorry for all I have done. I promise I’ll do my best.”
‘It was that moment he died I became a man. I knew I had to try and make him proud.’
Heartbreaking: Kirk is father to four-year-old son Harry (pictured) and daughter Violett, five, and planned on recording them a bedtime story before his suicide
Kirk broke down in tears in his first TV interview since his dad’s passing in January, admitting on Loose Women that he still hasn’t come to terms with the loss and he’s battled Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after attempting to revive him.
Ahead of the one-year anniversary of Mick’s death, Kirk was a guest on Loose Women to support their Stand By Your Man campaign.
He explained that due to Mick’s diabetes, he was classed as high-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, and was forced to shield for most of lockdown, which took a huge toll on his mental health.
Tragic: The former TOWIE star, 34, heartbreakingly discovered his dad’s body after Mick died by suicide on January 21, 2021 aged 57
Kirk explained: ‘It has been the quickest year ever and the slowest year ever. It’s so hard to explain. I’ve got a bit of a mental block. I can’t remember my dad being here, but I can like a dream.’
‘That’s who my dad was – he was a host. He wanted to make everyone smile around him. Lockdown has really affected people who excel to be around people and make people smile.
‘We locked him down hard. He was diabetic. If you’re on your own, it’s the worst place to be in. You’ve got to tell people.’
Asked why he thinks that Mick – who was a regular cast member on TOWIE – didn’t tell anyone about his struggles, Kirk said: ‘He is old school.
‘He was a docker, he worked in the docks in the 60s and 70s and I believe that era in men, I don’t know if [they think] it’s a weakness. It’s not, you know. If my mate comes and says, ”I’m struggling”, do you know how strong I think that person is?’
‘I live next to my father. That morning, he was coming in and doing what he normally does. He gave me his next business strategy. That afternoon, he killed himself.’
Emotional: It comes after Kirk broke down in tears in his first TV interview since his dad’s passing, admitting on Loose Women that he still hasn’t come to terms with the loss
Kirk then detailed the devastating moment he found his father’s body, breaking down in tears as he recalled his attempts to revive him.
He told the panel: ‘I was indoors, having my lunch and I got a call from my dad’s partner saying, ”I can’t find your dad.” And I don’t know why, even though I saw him that morning, I knew what had happened.
‘We knew he was in the house, he’d locked himself in the house and I smashed through the door. He hanged himself and I found him… I gave him CPR, I tried my best. I knew he was gone though, I knew the minute I saw him.’
‘It was surreal. It was like my life ended but I had so much to do at the same time. Once I knew it was done, I laid with my father and told him it was time to rest.’
He added that after battling his own mental health struggles, he wants to encourage men to speak out and get help if they’re suffering.
‘I tried to commit suicide many years ago, I didn’t think I had a purpose then,’ Kirk told the panel.
‘I felt I was, but now I’ve got to take a positive out of what I’ve seen happen and the carnage it’s caused and knowing that my dad had to do it, but no one has to do that.
‘If you’ve ended a relationship, you can get another one, if you’ve lost all your money, you can get more money, if you’ve lost your job, you can get another job.’
Starring role: The ex Sugar Hut owner and reality star, who rose to fame as the man behind the nightclub on the hit ITV2 series, was discovered at his home in Essex after taking his own life
‘I didn’t feel like I had a purpose. I’ve got to take a positive from what I’ve seen happen – the carnage that it’s caused… no one has to do that.
‘Everyone that’s watching this you have survived 100% of your worst days. Why can’t you survive more?’ Kirk said.
‘I have huge respect for my dad. He was my best friend and my dad. He still is. I still conduct myself daily talking to my dad.’
‘It all turned negative. I used to say ”dad this ain’t you, snap out of it”. ‘It’s been hard. I genuinely believe the day my dad died, I turned into a man.’
For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. See www.samaritans.org for details.
Mick Norcross’ TOWIE moments
MARCH 2011: Mick makes his TOWIE entrance, when Kirk attempts to set Gemma Collins up with his dad. After Gemma voiced her desire to find a ‘Danny Dyer-Tony Soprano’ style older man, Kirk insisted Mick would be ‘perfect’. Despite his best efforts, the businessman seemed more enticed by fellow newcomer Chloe Sims.
APRIL 2011: Despite his attentions continuing to point to Chloe, Gemma continued in her quest for Mick as she famously left an apple pie on his doorstep however he does not realise it is a gift from the boutique owner.
Gemma continued in her quest for Mick as she famously left an apple pie on his doorstep
MAY 2011: In one of the show’s most iconic scenes, Gemma is left heartbroken when she believes Mick is approaching her with a bottle of champagne at Mark Wright’s pool party however he is in fact heading toward Lauren Goodger’s sister Nicola. He later said of the scene: ‘I had no idea that Gemma was so upset. I think someone may have told her I was going to come over to her rather than Nicola. But I never meant to hurt her. I hate the thought of upsetting anyone.’
SEPTEMBER 2011: Mick sparks up a romance with Maria Fowler – an enemy to Kirk – however the following month he ends the relationship over rumours flying around Essex about their relationship.
In one of the show’s most iconic scenes, Gemma is left heartbroken when she believes Mick is approaching her with a bottle of champagne
OCTOBER 2011: Mick confesses to Kirk that he feels lonely and would like some company ‘Maybe there’s bits of my life where I haven’t been there for you so it’s hard for me to see where I’m going wrong…
‘I wasn’t there enough for you growing up but I want you to know I’m here for you now. I want to do the things we didn’t do and still can do. I’m quite a hard person and it’s difficult for me to show my emotions and that’s not me making an excuses and it doesn’t mean I don’t love you and I don’t want you around me and I just put this hard exterior up sometimes…
‘Any time you get upset let’s not end up having a shouting match over it. Talk to me. With women, that’s where I push buttons. Unfortunately in what I do, I am surrounded by women from 20 years of age to 35 years of age.’ When Kirk voiced concerns over women taking advantage of Mick, he went on: ‘Really Kirk it’s not your decision, with me you might think I’m having a great time and that but every night I come to this house on my own, I live on my own, it’s empty, it’s nothing.’
APRIL 2012: Mick is left in shock when a blaze breaks out at his Essex mansion after which he was treated for smoke inhalation while Kirk suffered minor cuts after attempting to put out the fire that broke out an upstairs rooms around 2.30pm. He spoke of the fire on the show and showed Mario Falcone the damage on-screen.
MAY 2012: Mick invites a number of the TOWIE boys around for a poker night to christen his new man cave since his home renovation
MARCH 2013: Mick announced his departure from the show after five series and banned filming in his club after becoming displeased with the reputation of fighting and fury among castmembers within the luxury establishment. He said: ‘My club is an upmarket venue where people come to drink champagne and feel spoiled. All these rows they keep filming don’t show the club in a good light and I’m worried it’s putting people off coming, which is the last thing I want.’
Mick announced his departure from the show after five series and banned filming in his club