Men account for eight out of ten suicides in the 26 counties. Suicide is the highest killer of men under the age of 50 in the 6 counties.
There is a huge international problem in terms of lack of help and education surrounding mental health. There is a lot of stigma in society about mental health, especially amongst men. Most men don’t discuss their feelings. It is not surprising then that the suicide rate among men is significantly higher.
The new online series, ‘Istigh Liom Féin’ discusses men’s mental health in an open and honest way. This series explores mental health through the lens of four young men and their personal stories.
In each episode these young men; Colm Ó Dubhghaill, Seán Ó Dubhchon, Jonathan Ó hEarcáin and Cathán Bonner – will discuss their own personal experiences with mental health.
They will discuss the difficulties they had, the way in which they came through them and the importance of open conversations and dialogue around mental health.
In the first episode which aired on 18th November, Colm Ó Dubhghaill shared his story on TG4’s platform BLOC. Colm is 23 years old and he’s from Glanmire in County Cork.
Mental health is something Colm has become very aware of and has had a lot of experience with in recent years. Colm’s mother took her own life in December of 2019.
Colm had done a lot of work to help those struggling with their mental health. In 2018 both Colm and his friend Seán took part in the ‘Cycle Against Suicide’ and raised money for Pieta House and the Cycle against Suicide charity. They took on the challenge again in 2020 raising money for both charities.
Colm is also a member of ‘Nightline’ in UCC. This is a student run mental health service which provides support for all UCC students on an anonymous basis. The students are provided with training from Samaritans and then take shifts operating phone and text lines.
Colm has had his own experiences with anxiety in recent years. This is something he realised through working with his counsellor. He is very aware of his own mental health and is mindful of himself.
He’s very open with his friends and family, which helps him when he is feeling anxious, low or feeling the effects of grief. He keeps a diary to help him process his emotions and goes out surfing regularly to help blow off steam and ground himself. Colm was a member of the Irish surfing team in recent years.
This series delves into a number of different themes and topics in a courageous and personal manner – depression, anxiety, anorexia and eating disorders, suicide, grief and the other stresses that young men encounter. The young men openly discuss their emotions, their low points and how they look after their mental health.
This series gives an honest insight into young men’s lives between both highs and lows. This series continually emphasises the message – that you are never alone and that it is never too late to seek help.
The main aims of this series are to start an open discussion around mental health and give hope to those who are struggling. It doesn’t matter how someone aligns with society’s perception of what a man is or how perfect someone’s life looks from the outside – mental health will have an impact on everyone’s life at one stage or another. You won’t understand what people are going through until you speak to them.
‘Istigh Liom Féin’ started on 18th November on YouTube and Instagram, BLOC TG4.