Singer Louie Castro is such a cheerful optimist, the Samaritans have appointed him an ambassador. The ceremony happened in late December and the sunny vocalist will take part in events and campaigns encouraging youngsters to resist succumbing to pressure, depression and even suicide.
'When the Samaritans approached me, they said, Louie, you are such a positive, optimistic and bubbly person, there are many people who look up to you as their role model,' the former Metro Radio host (below) said. 'I thought it was a great idea and all I had to do was share my experiences and I think I am very good at that. I remember listeners would phone in and tell me how depressed they were. One young mother of two told me her husband cheated on her and had a mistress on the mainland. She kept crying and I worried she might do something silly, so I encouraged her to look at the bright side. She had two lovely children, was still young and financially independent, and she could always remarry again. After hearing that, she felt better.'
Castro added that life hasn't been a bed of roses for him either. He fell into depression after being laid off from radio and losing his mother.
'I learned from experience that you should never stay home and think you can find a solution by yourself, because that often drives you to a dead end. What people should do is to talk to some someone they trust. It's always better to talk and let it out.'
Or sing. Castro's two concerts, February 5 and 6 at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, are titled Love for Life.