Men’s Health Week: 5 Irish celebrities who have opened up about their mental health

This week marks International Men's Health Week

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This week marks International Men’s Health Week, which each year aims to bring awareness to different issues men face – including mental health issues.

Earlier in the week, the HSE revealed a free text service to provide immediate support for anyone suffering with their mental health.

‘50808’ is a first of its kind for Ireland, a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through mental health or emotional crisis.

Since the service began its pilot in September last year, it has provided support to 3,801 people through 6,694 conversations.

It is expected that ‘50808’ will support over 50,000 people each year once fully operational.

In honour of Men’s Health Week, we’ve rounded up five Irish male celebrities who have spoken openly about their mental health struggles.

Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal as Connell in Normal People

Paul Mescal was praised for his raw emotion portraying Connell in Normal People last month. 

Viewers watched as Connell fell into a deep depression after the suicide of a school friend, something the actor found very close to home.

Speaking to The Independent, the 24-year-old said he resonated with his character as three of his school friends commit suicide when he was a teenager.

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“My innocence was ripped away very quickly,” he said. “Three people killed themselves at my school so it’s not fictional to me, it’s real, and I was really nervous portraying it.”

Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones

Paul also showed his support for mental healthy charity Pieta House recently, as he helped raise over €70k for them by auctioning off one of his famous chains.

At the time, the actor said: “Episode 10 of Normal People also touches upon depression and suicidal ideation, so it seemed like a very special partnership to want to help those in similar situations.”

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“I want to play my part in helping sustain these free services across Ireland.”

Niall Breslin

Better known as Bressie, the Irish musician has spoken openly and honestly about his struggles with depression and anxiety. 

He previously spoke about feeling like he was “possessed by some kind of dark demon”, suffering from daily panic attacks, hair loss and insomnia. 

The mental health advocate also wrote the book Me and My Mate Jeffrey back in 2015, in which he described his struggle with his depression – which he calls ‘Jeffrey’. 

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To this day, Bressie continues to speak out about mental health, and recently his six-part podcast series Where Is My Mind was nominated for multiple awards. 

Bressie also founded the award winning mental health charity A Lust For Life, which aims to “destroy the stigma that attempted to destroy previous generations”.

Keith Walsh

Keith Walsh | Brian McEvoy

Keith Walsh is another well-known face who has spoken out about his own struggle with mental health.

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The RTÉ 2FM presenter previously admitted he feared he would appear weak if he opened up about his issues. 

The broadcaster bravely opened up about his struggles in an Instagram video last year, and the video went viral.

Speaking about the viral video to Jennifer Zamperelli on RTÉ 2FM, Keith explained why he needed to share his story.

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He said: “I felt like I needed to tell people about this for a long time but I just wanted to wait for the right moment, and also I wanted to do it in a way that I was comfortable in what I was talking about and I knew exactly where I was that it could just be a conversation.”

Explaining what stopped him from putting the video out sooner, he said: “I think I wasn’t ready. I only started seeing a counsellor shortly after the Breakfast Show finished up, it was just one of those things.”

“Since then, as soon as I started seeing this guy I said ‘well people need to know about this’ and I didn’t think lots of people needed to know about this, but a good few men could probably be doing what I’m doing to get the message out there.”

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Niall Horan

Instagram

Niall Horan has opened up about his struggles with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder in the past.

“I have mild obsessive compulsive disorder, that’s what doctors call it. That is, I feel like I have to do things in a certain way,” he told German magazine Zeit Leo.

“I have one fixed sequence. I always have to sing in the same order, move and so on. I’ll basically do everything immediately, otherwise I’ll get nervous quickly.”

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The singer also admitted that before he started to experience anxiety first-hand, he didn’t really believe it was a thing.

During a previous interview on an Australian radio show, Niall said: “I used to be like, ‘I don’t believe that anxiety thing. What’s everybody banging on about?’ And then I got it a couple of times, and went, ‘Oh, Jesus.'”

“I tend to get it a lot around stage time, and I start freaking out with TV shows and stuff, but you kind of breathe your way out of it.”

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Darren Kennedy

Darren Kennedy recently spoke about his two-year battle with anorexia.

The influencer got candid in an interview with the Irish Mirror about the stigma around male eating disorders.

He said: “People assume that men are fine and don’t suffer with issues with their body or want to lose weight. I still think today we’ve a long way to go until we recognise that men struggle too.”

The stylist revealed he developed an unhealthy relationship with food at the age of 14, restricting what he ate.

“I just felt so out of place in my own body and so insecure about everything,” he said.

“I think for anyone struggling, body image or not, be kind to yourself and I know it sounds so simple but we can be so hard on ourselves. Being trapped in your own mind can be the worst place, have a chat with someone.”

During a recent interview with Goss.ie, Darren also admitted that he’s been struggling with anxiety during isolation.

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