Wednesday 11 December 2019

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Mental health: 'Enough is enough'

Wednesday, 27th November, 2019 4:40pm

A Cork-made video which shines a light on mental health in Ireland has gathered much attention in recent weeks.

Part of the #TooManyLives campaign, an online initiative to get people talking about mental health issues, the video was produced by Deep Red Productions on MacCurtain Street and was largely filmed in Mahon Community Centre.

The short film features a number of well-known figures such as singer Daniel O’Donnell and Love/Hate’s John Connors who speaks about his own experiences with mental health, having lost his father to suicide.

The man behind the movement, Clonmel native Cathal O’Reilly, told the Cork Independent that this time of year can be especially tough for people and that he wants to “eradicate the stigma” surrounding mental health in Ireland.

He said: “I felt that the mental health message is often lost around Christmas time as people are often bombarded with other messages that are given more priority as well as being too busy to stop and talk. People need a certain level of certainty in an uncertain time in their lives and in Ireland. Enough is enough.”

Cathal himself has struggled with mental health issues and he is encouraging anyone who’s in the same boat to reach out.

“Today, I manage my mental health with regular counselling to check in with someone and I would recommend that to anyone. At the end of the day, we go to the doctor regularly, it shouldn't be any different with counselling, but unfortunately there’s still stigma around it, particularly amongst men,” said Cathal.

The video brings a very real message to viewers stating that “352 people lost their lives to suicide in 2018”, and although Cathal believes progress is being made, he says the country’s suicide rate is still alarmingly high.

“On one hand, the numbers with mental health increase but at least people are starting to trust that they can speak about their mental health without being stigmatised or labelled. It's a very difficult one because we can't measure stigma,” he explained

Looking forward, Cathal says he hopes the #TooManyLives movement will continue to gather momentum and generate conversation. “#TooManyLives is still gathering a large amount of interest. People do realise the cultural significance and they are making a stand. We are really going with the campaign and we are being reactive with it. It has a life of its own now and hopefully it will encourage people to speak up and make their voices heard this Christmas, when it comes to their mental health,” he concluded.

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