Reaching for help in the office
Depression is an illness that seeps into all aspects of a person's life and the workplace is no exception.
Despite this, statistics show that those affected are unlikely to speak up while at work, for fear of seeming weak or being treated differently. In an effort to change this, Vincent Byrne went the extra mile to encourage people with depression to speak out. The Cycle Against Suicide Ambassador ran from his office in Rosslare Harbour to Wexford in an effort to promote mental health awareness in offices across the town. Together with several others, Vincent aimed to deliver one key message.
'There are many of us who have known the darkness and desolation of depression,' he explained. 'It's very important to let people know that it's ok not to be ok in the workplace. I don't think we are willing to say that as we don't want to show weakness.'
The talks were very well-received in each office and, according to Vincent, he received excellent feedback.
'I didn't know whether people would get it but it was beyond everything I ever expected. I have been getting emails and private messages on social media since the talks.'
Vincent presented framed copies of the message "It's ok not to feel ok and it's absolutely ok to ask for help" at each office in a hope that this thought would remain there long after he left.
'Hopefully this will be placed in a prominent position in the workplace,' he said.
The run was one of the many mental health awareness events that took place during National Suicide Awareness Week. Although it may be over for another year, Vincent hopes to continue to spread his message to other workplaces.
'I am working on other things at the moment,' he said. 'I can't say too much about what I have planned but I would love to extend the message into offices all across the country.'
Vincent has spoken out about his personal link to depression in the past, an experience that has encouraged him to get involved in the Cycle Against Suicide Initiative. Earlier this year, Vincent participated in the 14-day cycle around Ireland, taking his message into schools, communities and homes. During the cycle, Vincent wrote a Facebook blog, which was a very honest and emotional exploration of mental health issues.