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Making people Aware of men's struggles

Wednesday, 18th November, 2020 5:41pm

A Cobh man endured a 100 day physical endurance challenge to raise funds for a charity for those impacted by depression, bipolar and mood related conditions.

Kevin O’Keefe raised €3,000 for Aware, after struggling with his own mental health, for which he sought help last November through his employer’s employee assistance programme. After a series of counselling and therapy sessions, Kevin said he is very grateful for the support services that helped him.

“I’m not ashamed to say I sought help and having come out the other side, I want to do my bit in destigmatising mental health issues, and in encouraging people, particularly men, to talk,” he said.

With charities across the country struggling for donations as a result of the global pandemic, Kevin wanted to do something to give back. He set himself two targets at the start of summer, to train every day for 100 days, and in doing so, to raise money for Aware.

From July to October, Kevin spent countless hours in the gym, ran over 400km and climbed Carrauntoohil twice. His training also included spinning, weight training and essentially anything he could to make it a challenge deserving of the many donations he received.

Today, Thursday 19 November, marks International Men’s Day and this year’s theme is ‘better health for men and boys’. Having successfully completed the 100 days of training, Kevin was delighted to have raised over €3,000 for Aware.

“Apart from reaching my targets and being fitter, what really struck me was how my friends and colleagues began opening up and talking about their own struggles. So, whether it’s a pat on the back or a walk with a friend, this International Men’s Day, I encourage anyone in need, especially men, to seek the support to look after their mental health. I’d like to thank everyone who supported me and donated,” Kevin said.

Nicola McSweeney, Head of Human Resources at Gas Networks Ireland, said: “At Gas Networks Ireland, the health and safety of our staff, customers and communities is our number one priority. Taking on this challenge, Kevin has achieved so much, both physically and in the funds raised for Aware. Gas Networks Ireland is committed to promoting, and encouraging, employee health and wellbeing, and we congratulate Kevin on his terrific achievement and thank all those who supported him along his journey.”

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