Mind Home

Humor Fit

Donal Walsh

YSI Project

Be at your best Investing in your Mind and Body

- Jack McCarthy

On the 8th of March 2016 30 transition year and fifth year students travelled to UL to attend a Mental Health talk delivered by Bressie. Niall began by speaking about how his mental health issues started when he was a young child and he couldn't understand what was wrong with him. He had an encyclopaedia of health problems and would diagnose himself with something different every day but the thought of him being depressed never entered his mind. He told us that as a young boy he began self harming and it was his only form of relief from the mental illness he had. On one occasion he broke his arm off the wall and slept the night with a broken arm, in the morning he rushed off to school and told his vice principal that he had fallen on the way to school

Niall spoke how he went on to play inter county football for West Meath and rugby for Leinster. He was still suffering from mental health issues and found it extremely difficult to seek help because of the stigma surrounding it. He spoke about how it began to affect him more and more as he wasn't receiving any help. He gave up rugby because of his mental health illness and told the coach it was because he didn't like rugby. Niall attended the University College of Dublin but later had to drop out because of the panic attacks he would get while in a lecture. Niall moved to England and while in England he decided to see a counsellor but he told her she was useless because his mental illness hadn't gone away after an hour.

While in England he received a message from RTÉ asking him to be a judge on The Voice of Ireland. He accepted and this meant he got to see his mother every weekend. While on The Voice of Ireland before a live show he had a huge panic attack but still managed to go on stage. Niall began to tell people about his mental illness starting with his family and friends. He began to deal with his mental illness and decided to name his depression 'Jeffrey'. Anytime during the night if he had a panic attack he would go for a run until he felt better. Eventually he beg and to stop having panic attacks and began sleeping regularly again.

This is only a short summary of Niall's battle with depression and anxiety but it shows that mental illness can affect anyone inter county footballers, Leinster rugby players or famous singers. One of the main messages which I took from the talk is that we need to eliminate the stigma and the silence that surrounds mental health. The government needs to put more aids in place to help people who are dealing with mental health issues, there is no point sending someone who is having a panic attack into A&E.

Niall also gave us some positive psychology techniques to help our mental health:

  1. Limit the amount of toxic people in your life - the people who are slagging and mocking others behind their backs.
  2. Before you go to sleep say one thing you are proud of yourself for doing that day.
  3. In the morning say 30 things you are grateful for - this helps your brain release sera tone which helps you stay positive and happy.
  4. Stop judging people and talking about people behind their backs.

He also gave us the name of an app to use which really helps calm yourself:


Bressie and some of the TY class 2015/2016