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Three 60
Three 60RTÉ One, Monday, 7.30pm

2006: Programme 9

Item 1 - Mental Health and Young people

In Ireland today, more and more young people are experiencing difficulties with their mental health. On this week's Three 60, two young men share two very different personal accounts of how mental illness has affected them.

One of the contributors has an ongoing condition which he is learning to live with and the other has experienced a long period of depression and attempted suicide from which he has now recovered.

A common thread running through both stories is the isolation both have experienced as a result of their experiences. The other concentration is on how mental health issues are affecting more and more young people. Tony Bates who is a psychologist in UCD and is involved in the National Centre for Youth Mental Health offers an expert's point of view on this phenomenon.

Colin is 19 years old and was 13 when he first began to experience mental health issues. Over the course of several years he became more and more depressed. Colin says he became very good at hiding his condition. Colin joined 'Create-a-Link' a year-and-a-half ago after being referred by psychiatric services. Create-a-Link is an art studio run through the Health Board as therapeutic training for people experiencing mental health problems. Prior to his involvement in the studio, Colin had no interest in art but has since developed a passion for it and is currently working towards his own exhibition of black and white paintings. His involvement with the studio and the support he has received from both fellow students and tutor Peadar Mc Daid has been a turning point for Colin. He believes that being treated as a person and not an illness in the centre has made a huge difference in his life. He feels he is finally moving on and learning to deal with his condition and feels strongly about sharing his story with other people in order to raise awareness about mental health problems. Outside of his art work Colin's next big passion is the punk band he plays in. The bands motivation is music and not financial gain.

Ian's Story
Ian is a 22-year-old Graphic Design student. From the age of 12, Ian felt different from his peers and eventually realised that he was gay. Coming to terms with his sexuality was a long and painful process and Ian became more and more depressed. He isolated himself from family and friends and attempted suicide three times. After the third attempt, Ian resolved to either end his life for real or start living. Coming out to his family and friends wasn't the big deal it's made out to be according to Ian and posed no major problems once he had accepted his sexuality himself. According to Ian, depression among teenagers coming to terms with their sexuality is a major problem and having nowhere to turn for help and advice contributes to this. He feels it is vital for people to have somewhere to turn for support and understanding and hopes that by providing a safe place for people to turn to he can prevent someone else going through the years of depression he himself experienced.

Item 2 - Garda Colm Cullen

On 11 September 1992, Garda Colm Cullen was involved in a traffic accident whilst on duty on a motorbike and has used a wheelchair ever since.

At the time of the accident he was on duty at the Police Cycling Championships. They stopped in Portlaoise for a break and when the rest of his colleagues were leaving Colm decided to stay on and wait for his friend John. John was with him when he had the accident and blamed himself for the fact that Colm had stayed behind with him. Colm stayed in the rehabilitation centre from September until January. At first John was reluctant to visit him as he was having difficulty dealing with his own feelings but when he eventually did it was a relief to Colm. John was able to reassure him that there was nothing he could have done to avoid the accident and this enabled him to begin the process of accepting his injuries and moving on.

It was made clear to Colm that every accommodation would be made to enable him to continue working within the guards. He believes the fact that he was able to continue working and maintain his financial independence played a huge part in his ability to adapt to his situation. Colleagues were at first nervous around him and unsure how to approach the subject of his disability but taking their cue from his own no nonsense attitude and soon realised they didn't need to treat him with kid gloves. He is affectionately known at work as 'the peeler in the pram. Still working within the traffic division, Colm trains new recruits in road safety.

Item One - Organisations to Contact

In the Republic of Ireland dial 1850 60 90 90, for the cost of a local call.

Aware is a voluntary organisation formed in 1985 by a group of interested patients, relatives and mental health professionals, whose aims are to assist that section of the population whoses lives are directly affected by depression.
72 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. tel: 1890 303302

GROW is a Mental Health Organisation which helps people who have suffered, or are suffering, from mental health problems. Members are helped to recover from all forms of mental breakdown, or indeed, to prevent such happening.
Telephone 1890 474 474

Item Two
National Rehabilitation Hospital,
Rochestown Ave,
Dún Laoghaire,
Co. Dublin
Tel: +353 (0)1 2355317
Fax: +353 (0)1 2350955

Three 60 is sponsored by RehabCare and Fás.

Tony Bates
Tony Bates