As mental health awareness week is coming to an end, I’d like to bring to light an issue that’s been on my mind over the past month. A few weeks ago I met a lady who was playing fetch with her dog Millie along the Shannon River. We talked for over an hour, discussing everything from the weather to Millie’s daily adventures. One part of the conversation that really stood out to me was mental health in Ireland, specifically the county of Limerick. Working as a therapist, she was very familiar with the issues relating to depression and the high rate of suicide in Limerick, especially with men. She brought to my attention the importance of discussing the often avoided, but serious topic of taking your own life. A few days later after having this meaningful talk, I noticed a group of people in neon jackets walking across one of the bridges in Limerick City. My teammate informed me that they were volunteers on suicide watch, helping to prevent people from jumping off the bridge. This immediately put into perspective just how serious the issue is in Limerick. My mind still dwells on what I can possibly do to help someone that might be suffering from a mental illness.
My heart aches after recently hearing about a few young people from home taking their own lives. This really hit me hard, knowing that someone can be suffering so much on the inside without any visible indication of the pain they’re going through. I came to the realization that I don’t know enough about mental illnesses. It is truly paramount to become knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms of depression. As a coach, I’d like to be an outlet to the youth. I want the players I’m working with to know that if they’re going through something, that they’re not alone and I’m here for them. As a role model and leader, it’s my duty and in my heart to do everything I can to lend a helping hand. Not only do we as individuals need to become more educated about this issue but we also need to understand the importance of kindness. “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14) is one of my favorite bible verses that I hold close to me. What we do and say can unknowingly have an impact on others. Be careful with your words and actions because you never know the pain that someone might be going through. I might not be able to change the lives of everyone, but I hope by helping one person at time I can make a positive imprint on the people around me.
Show compassion, be supportive, and never let kindness leave you.