What causes the high rate of mental illness in the west of Ireland?

A man who spent a long time living in the west of Ireland believes social conditions have a large impact on mental health. 

One sees a lot of old bachelors and old maids living alone, they become odd, this may be some way connected with emigration also because it’s well known the best emigrate and then the weakest remain on, and they find themselves cut away from life.

He saw four people in two counties in the west of Ireland fall under the impact of powerful missionary speakers which led them to

Develop certain complexes and became mad.

He also recalls meeting a young priest in the west who underwent psychiatric treatment because of his loneliness. This priest lived on an island in the Atlantic ten miles off the west coast of Ireland. 

At night-time as he saw cars coming and going on the mainland he felt like going off his mind, actually he nearly did.

In certain parts of Ireland where people in one village are all related, 

Blood thins out and insanity happens, just as we have seen it happen among the royal families of Europe.

If people drink badly made poteen, particularly in large quantities,

It has the effect of upsetting them mentally.

On the whole, however,

Emigration and loneliness has a great deal to do with it, and the fact that in many places in the west there is no social life.

This episode of ‘7 Days’ was broadcast on 11 October 1968. The reporter is Ted Nealon.