A FORMER sport hero is to open up about his battle with depression at a Barrow hotel.

Ex-rugby star Danny Sculthorpe, who played almost 150 professional rugby league games, will open up about his battle mental health at Abbey House Hotel and Gardens on October 5.

Although Mr Sculthorpe's played for huge clubs like Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves, his career was cut short by a career-ending injury, sparking a bout of severe depression.

He said: “It is important to me to be involved in the ball as mental health is my passion.

"I want people to be comfortable speaking about mental health and people to start treating mental ill health like they do with physical health.

“When you are struggling we need to fix it straight away like you do with a serious injury such as a broken leg.

"The stigma around mental health is killing people and Cumbria has such a high suicide rate that needs sorting."

The event will raise awareness and encourage more people to seek support is being organised by Events Coordinator, Gemma Murphy.

She said: “I am very passionate about mental health and about people speaking about it and seeking the help they need.

“I have suffered from anxiety from quite a young age, and I am now at a stage in life where I am able to manage it, but I'm also very comfortable speaking about it.

“However so much more needs to be done and the NHS is terribly underfunded and not able to cope with demand.

“There have been instances of suicide in young men locally this year which is so upsetting, and my thoughts behind getting Danny involved around men speaking more about their feelings, because in too many cases, they don’t do that.

“I want this to become an annual event which will tackle a different area of mental health every year.”

The evening event will feature local singer-songwriter Devan Moore, who will provide the soundtrack to dinner, with Mr Sculthorpe speaking about his mental health journey afterwards.

The night will finish with a set by comedian Joshua Flower and a disco.

All profits from the event will go to mental health charity, MIND.

Tickets, priced at £40 are available via the Abbey House Hotel’s website or by calling the hotel on 0333 253 8663.