I get by with a little help from my friends.

On Friday last, I was lucky to catch a part of the Late Late Show ( it does sound slightly weird to say I was lucky to watch the Late Late!!) dealing with a very relevant but somewhat difficult topic to discuss: the whole area of suicide and depression. The piece on the show was promoting an event called Cycle Against Suicide, much more details of which are available here (http://cycleagainstsuicide.com/index.html).

Essentially the 14 day cycle around Ireland hopes to raise awareness of the supports available to people/families who suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts or who have lost a loved one through suicide.

You may wonder where my own interest comes from for such an area but unfortunately I lost my mother to suicide 12 years ago and as a result, suicide is something I have a binding connection to for life. It is not an experience one spends much time preparing for and the shock, hurt and grief you feel can last an incredibly long time, and for some may indeed never subside.

How I dealt with my own experience was made substantially easier by attending a Rainbows Ireland programme at the time. Rainbows provides a setting and a trained facilitator where children and young people can share and discuss their feelings among other children who have went through a similar experience. As I reflect, I cannot overstate its importance in helping me deal with the issues I faced at the time as it offered me a safe and confidential place to address and overcome these issues.

This reflection is the catalyst for me trying to make people aware of the Cycle Against Suicide and what it hopes to achieve. Suicide has become a major cause of death in Ireland and support agencies have far more frequent requests for help in the last number of years.  The Irish Times reported on July 12 2012 that 525 lives were lost through suicide in 2011 ( 439 men, 86 women), an increase of 7% on 2010. The question I ask upon seeing these figures is how many of these people sought help for how they felt? Could professional help have reduced this number? I would certainly think so.

The rise in mental health issues from the fallout of the Celtic Tiger and the onset of the current recession has been dramatic. Many young men and women now find themselves unemployed or have had wages decreased substantially, are mired in mortgage debt and ever increasing tax hikes and see no way out apart from the ultimate way out, i.e. to take their own life.  Times are very difficult but are they tough enough to warrant taking your own life and not seeing family, friends, or experiencing the endless possibilities life offers ever again? The rise of social media and cyber bullying has made us aware of harrowing stories of teenage girls taking their own lives as a result of online bullying and has now developed into an area that needs to be addressed rapidly in order to prevent further tragedies becoming commonplace in Irish society.

The whole area of mental health, depression and suicide is a taboo subject not often discussed enough as, I believe, many find it too difficult to speak about their own feelings for a multitude of reasons. It’s crazy in many ways. We get help through grinds if we struggle in the classroom, we get help from trainers in order to get fit, we consult Jamie Oliver books and the likes to cook that very important meal, and we get advice from any number of style magazines on how to look well. Yet when it comes to our thoughts and feelings on the inside, many go quiet and won’t seek help to overcome these issues. Instead they feel trapped and have no way out.

Depression and suicidal thoughts are such sensitive, individual issues that, in my opinion, one cannot actually overcome them alone due to their difficulty and complexity. Accepting that everything is not perfect and that help is needed is a big decision to make and requires plenty of courage. Seeking out help from friends, family or a trained professional is a great thing to do.  Like exercise helps us stay physically fit, talking and sharing will help us stay mentally fit. Whilst nobody else might experience or feel exactly what you do, this doesn’t mean they cannot help you to overcome these feelings.

I am no expert in this area, nor ever will be, and many might disagree entirely with my views and that’s no problem but I do feel strongly about helping raise awareness of the Cycle Against Suicide and that is the main reason for this post. The less people who see reason to take their own life and the less families who have to question and grieve over why it happened makes the world a better place for everybody.

All going well, I hope to participate in some part of the cycle to lend my support to the cause. If this post helps in a tiny way to raise awareness, then it’s time very well spent.


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20 Responses to I get by with a little help from my friends.

  1. peig says:

    Fez this is so well written, well done. I fully agree with you and will share the link and do what I can to generate support for the cycle.

  2. Ci. flynn says:

    So well written , really proud of you putting the word out like that and hope to see you on the road during the cycle. Not to sure how much of it i’ll manage but its worth the sting for such a relevant issue .

    Ci X

  3. Well done Seamus, looking forward to seeing how you get on and let me know when the sponsorship goes up. I expect a platform finish as well by the way.Well done bud.

  4. Martin Atkinson says:

    Good stuff Fez, Every little helps!

  5. Noel Cahill says:

    Well done Fez. Well written piece and I will share far and wide

  6. Pat Williams says:

    Good man Fez, great piece and well written.

  7. Julie White says:

    Here’s a link with cycle routes and details http://www.broadsheet.ie/2013/01/22/do-you-still-have-your-bike/. Good piece, well written. J

  8. Liz says:

    Fair play great article, shared!!

  9. Thanks for sharing this with us – I strongly feel that we all need four things in life to be content …. a strong sense of identity, a sense of belonging to an other, a sense of belonging to a group or organisation and a direction in life. If one of these is missing the self is affected. As you say the best thing is to seek help and never try to deal with these things on your own.

  10. dodgejaja says:

    Reblogged this on spainstakeover and commented:
    An excellent piece, help raise awareness.

  11. Paul Moran. says:

    Well done on this piece,its sumting that needs to be talked about more,you mother was from our parish so we have a connection to this issue,Paul Moran Shannon Rovers.

  12. Colm O'Callaghan says:

    This is a very important contribution to a very important debate. Well done on your honesty and the best of luck with the cycle. Colm

  13. John Verling says:

    Seámus, great stuff man, keep it up and good luck with the cycle!

  14. Brian Tyrrell says:

    Lost my dad through sucide so it is proper it is been dicussed properly

  15. john lyons says:

    hey seamus. lost my mam almost ten years ago, completly understand where ur coming from!would love to take part in some of the cycle,best of luck with everyting.

  16. John Butler says:

    Seamus, that is a brilliant piece and it should be compulsory reading in every secondary school in the country. Thanks for sharing it and I will be spreading word about the cycle.

  17. Mark O'Leary says:

    Well said big man. Tackling it straight on like everything you do.

  18. Christina Lacey says:

    Iam doing the cycle myself for the two weeks….

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