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'This will save lives' | Boxer Niall Kennedy on mental health resource

Ryan Clarke
Ryan Clarke

22:26 19 Feb 2020

It can be easy at times to put on a brave face, pretend like everything’s alright and avoid all the tough questions that come with speaking up.

Unfortunately, that’s the mindset of too many men, and women, who take their own lives.

Some people think that they’re doing those closest to them a favour by ending their lives. 

They couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s incomprehensible to try to understand the pain that will make any person think that way.

With the rate of young people who take their lives, it is important for people with a platform to use it to encourage people to speak up about their mental health.

Heavyweight boxer Niall Kennedy is one of those people who has been impacted by their mental health.

Speaking candidly to Joe Molloy on Wednesday, Niall described how he deals with bipolar disorder.

“I was finding myself in peaks and troughs. I was finding myself lashing out in other ways, whether it was: drinking to excess, getting myself suspended from hurling and football,” said Kennedy.

“I was just going off the rails. I was very lucky that my doctor noticed this and got me to a psychiatrist.

“The doctor more or less said that with bipolar that things are either black or white.

“I either saw things as amazing or horrendous, there was no filter. But in real life there is no black and white, there’s a million shades of grey. 

“What my medication does is keep me on an even keel so I can see that balance,” the Wexford boxer said.

Kennedy was speaking to Joe Molloy about the new resource that he’s involved with that will help people who are suffering to open up about their struggles.

“I lost my best friend when I was 19, he was like a brother to me, and I suffered really badly at the time,” Kennedy said.

“Looking back 16 years ago, when that subject [suicide] came up the subject was changed straight away as opposed to looking for help.

“The idea around this Headspace Gorey, is to teach people how to ask questions.

“To learn how, if someone does disclose that they’re feeling suicidal or having suicidal thoughts, that you take it seriously [sic],” he explained.

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