I nearly took my own life several times – growing up autistic was brutal, says Chris Packham | The Sun

SPRINGWATCH star Chris Packham has revealed that he tried to take his own life several times when growing up.

The TV favourite, 61, who hosts popular wildlife programme as well as the autumn and winter spin-off shows, was severely bullied for his autism.

Chris said he struggled with the condition, which can affect the way a person communicates and interacts with other people, among other symptoms.

I never forget that I’m lucky to be here," Chris told Radio Times.

"Because I came very close to taking my own life on several occasions in my youth – when autism is most difficult to deal with – and even as an adult."

Chris said that he worries the situation is now worse for teenagers.


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"Today there are teenagers who are sat alone in their bedrooms with no tunnel in view, let alone a light at the end of it," he continued.

"We have learned so much about the condition since I was growing up in the 1960s, yet young people are still suffering. That’s unconscionable.”

Last month Chris revealed that he was taking a break from TV because of creative frustration, rather than burnout.

He added: "If I’m honest, there is another reason to take a break, and that is related to my state of mind.

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"I’ve had, for the first time and perhaps belatedly, eco-anxiety. I’m angry and I’m scared.”

It will be the first time in nearly four decades that Chris will not be on our screens, but he admitted it was the right decision after feeling like he was constantly running on a treadmill. 

"I'm not going to buy a Ferrari and run off with a 20-year-old,' he told," The Mirror. 

"I've never taken three months off work. Never.

"I can barely sleep I am so excited. I might have to ban [partner] Charlotte from the studios."

Chris is well known for being a passionate wildlife speaker and expert naturalist and has become a firm favourite with viewers over the years.

Although he will be taking a brief break from TV – fans won't have to wait too long.

Earlier this year, the TV personality revealed he has another show coming out soon about autism, which he was diagnosed with in his 40s.

He will be raising awareness about the disability in the new gritty TV show.

Chris explained the programme would detail the experiences of people living with autism and stated it could help to "improve things for everyone".

"I've just finished a series about autism," he told Express.co.uk.

The series will be a "two-parter for the BBC which will go out after Christmas, Chris shared.

"I've just finished a series about autism," he told Express.co.uk.

The series will be a "two-parter for the BBC which will go out after Christmas, Chris shared.

Talking about raising awareness of autism, Chris explained: "We see a lot younger males who are diagnosed earlier on, very significantly more. Women are better at hiding it, and hiding it is what we all do."

The wildlife expert admitted that he hid his disability for the "best part" of his life, until he was finally diagnosed at 40.

The BBC presenter confessed: "We hide it so that we can get on in life, so that we can move amongst society in a way which is "normal," but it comes at a great cost and particularly for those young women.

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One of the programmes Chris will be part of focuses very much on making sure that the disability is understood as not "a male-only condition".

He concluded: "It's very much a female condition as well and we need to focus a lot more effort on young women firstly, getting them diagnosed and then of course providing them with the support that they need."

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