THE writer of television show Shameless has described how he was sectioned after attempting suicide in a letter of support for a sacked mental health nurse.

Paul Abbott, who is originally from Burnley, wrote the letter to Karen Reissmann, who was dismissed by Manchester mental health trust for gross misconduct after speaking out about cuts.

It was read out at a rally in support of the nurse on behalf of Abbott, who is currently in America, by Shameless and former Coronation Street star Chris Bisson.

The letter said: "At 15 I was sectioned for my own protection following a suicide attempt.

"Back then, I experienced the privilege of help and support from nurses among other mental health practitioners to see me patiently through that crisis.

"Without them, I wouldn't be alive today.

"The thought of ever going back to that jet-black underworld still haunts me constantly.

"But if I had no choice, surely in all decency, I'd deserve more specialist nurses like Karen Reissmann to help me break my fall, not half the number doing their work on a fraction of the funding spent 30 years ago."

Abbott also backed Reissmann's stance for speaking out about cuts.

He said: "I hope you already know how much admiration I have for you and your colleagues now striking in defence of your outspoken feelings about the alarming state of mental health services in Manchester, which for years we all know, were woefully under-funded in the first place - never mind the sheer madness of cutbacks.

"They could wave as many spreadsheets as they want to justify the economics of this but what's betting the number-crunching won't include the damage to Britain's economy from the needless suffering of undiagnosed mental illness in our citizens, which, if treated earlier, and professionally can prevent the pointlessly heartbreaking destruction of people and their families."

Reissmann is currently set to appeal against her dismissal, which was first announced earlier this month.