- 26 Oct 22
Calvin O’Brien and Terence Power based their award-winning podcast series around a simple premise: “Two lads from the inner city of Dublin sitting around doing what they do best, talking bollox.” Since launching in 2020, they’ve used their Talking Bollox Podcast to speak openly about some of the most important issues facing Irish people today, including mental health.
Calvin: “There’s an insane amount of pride when you come from an area like ours. Putting your hand out is kind of looked down upon – because everybody is proud of what they have, what they’ve built, and what they’ve earned. But what people don’t realise is that mental health is literally a matter of life and death in some cases.
“You’re fighting these battles daily in your own head, and it’s hard trying to tell somebody else about that. And the thing is, the services aren’t always there when you do want to tell somebody about it. And if they are there, they can be very expensive. I found counselling through college – because the college had a counsellor there. But for people who don’t have that, and can’t afford it, it’s sometimes just non-existent.
“Everybody goes through it. People might feel a bit lost, and not know who to reach out to, but what they don’t realise is that other people in their lives, and in their circle of friends and family, are going through a lot as well. If you sit down and talk to somebody for 30 minutes, it’s very common for your struggles to come up to the forefront. So the conversations that we have on the podcast are just happening off the cuff, naturally. They’re not planned.”
Terence: “We go in with no script, and no intentions. We’ll just steer it wherever we feel like it’s going with the guest. Most people have been through a lot of struggles – especially successful people. And people don’t really understand that. They just see the success, the fame, and the money, and think, ‘They have a great life.’ But you don’t understand what they had to go through, to get where they are today.
“From the get-go, we knew there was a niche in the market for working-class people, and especially working-class young fellas. We were in our mid-20s when we started this podcast. We knew that people could relate to us, if we delivered the right message. At the start we hadn’t really got the equipment – or anything! We just talked into a phone at the kitchen table. If you listen back, the audio is terrible – but we were delivering the right message to the right people, and they were understanding us, and relating to us. Some of the episodes are like a counselling session. It’s like a weight off the chest for me sometimes.
“We all go through things in this life. Life isn’t easy – and especially not where we’re from. We’re from a place where you have to be a hard man, and you have to have an ego. No one tells you to be vulnerable. No one tells you how to get out of it when you hit rock bottom. But the best way to help yourself is to open up, and be vulnerable. Don’t be ashamed to tell people that you’re struggling. The more we talk about it, the more normalised it is. It makes it okay not to be okay.”
Calvin: “If your leg was hurting you, you’d have no problem telling people, ‘I’ve a really bad pain in my leg.’ But if you’re going through a mental struggle, for some reason we just say, ‘No, I’m grand’ – when we’re really not. It’s about looking after ourselves mentally and physically. Look after your software, and your software will look after your hardware – and vice versa."
Read the full Hot Press Mental Health Special now in the current issue of Hot Press: