- 08 Oct 19
We invited a chorus of artists, writers, musicians, broadcasters, sports stars and more to contribute to Now We’re Talking, a mental health campaign, run in partnership with Lyons Tea and Pieta House.
When I was 20, I ended up in the psychiatric services in Limerick. I had severe depression at the time, and I tried to take my own life. They signed me out a day later, and I tried to do it again. After the second time, I ended up in there for a couple of months.
I wrote ‘Running’ about that experience. The system fails people because of the lack of services available through the HSE. As I say in the song, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy should be free and accessible to everyone around the country. Right now it’s only accessible in certain hospitals. Outside of that, you need a lot of money to visit a psychotherapist.
‘Running’ came from a real conversation I had with a psychiatrist, who I felt was more like a drug dealer than someone who actually wanted to help me – he was just prescribing me drugs.
Over the last decade, Limerick has had the highest suicide rate in the country. Two of the lads I went to school with took their own lives. The recession has had a huge effect on Limerick. The austerity and poverty makes people feel like they have no way out. People from certain areas of Limerick find it really hard to get a job, just because of their postcode. Drugs like Xanax are easily available too, without having to go to a doctor or a hospital to speak about your problems.
These days I’ve learned ways to cope with depression. I know that if I’m down for a couple of days I’ll probably have a good few days the following week. Talking’s so important, and I’m lucky to have some good friends who I can turn to. Exercise is key as well.
I used to just write down all the things that had happened that upset me on a piece of paper, and then I’d rip it up. The lyrics for ‘Running’ started as an exercise in that, but for whatever reason, I didn’t rip up the words because they felt like poetry. I tried it out over a beat that Naïve Ted had given me, and that’s how that song came about.
First and foremost, I write my songs for myself, to help me deal with my own issues. The more that I perform them in front of people, the less bad I feel. I’m projecting the stuff in a positive way on stage, and it allows me to stop thinking back about what happened to me in the past. Performing is a great release, whether you’ve had a good week or a bad week. Expressing your mental health issues normalises it for other people, and breaks down the barriers so they can talk more openly.
Humour’s always been a massive coping mechanism, since I’ve been very young. I was always the class clown. Obviously you can’t make a joke out of everything, but I try to as much as I can. We built the Technohippies as a JobBridge scheme for men with anxiety. That’s just how we make a joke out of mental health problems. We’re saying that it’s okay to be anxious.
At the end of the day, people aren’t numbers or statistics – they’re someone’s daughter or someone’s son, and they should be treated that way.
Now We're Talking 2019
A partnership between Lyons Tea, Pieta House & Hot Press.
Let’s break the stigma and take the dialogue about mental health issues onto a new level
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