Presenter Keith Walsh made a powerful mental health appeal on Saturday's Brendan O'Connor Show on RTÉ Radio 1, telling listeners: "We have time now to start thinking about who we are, and where we're at."
Walsh has written a new solo, "half-hour, work-in-progress" show about his own experiences called Pure Mental. It will be livestreamed next Saturday, June 27, at 9:00pm on the social media channels of the Riverbank Arts Centre with more details on riverbank.ie.
During his interview with O'Connor, Walsh explained that he reached a crossroads in his life after his time as a presenter of the Breakfast Show on RTÉ 2FM came to an end.
"It gave me pause for concern," he recounted. "I think with something like that you put so much into it to the detriment of other things, like your personal life, your family life, your kids, your wife... I'm not here to blame anybody, but when something like that finishes and is kind of taken away from you, as I perceived it. I felt like this was taken away from me. I put so much effort into this. 'What the hell is it all about?'"
He said he put on a brave face after his job on the Breakfast Show finished.
"I wanted people to stop talking about it," he continued. "I was in that place where everything was grand. So the Breakfast Show finishes up, as far as I was concerned I was telling everybody it was grand, it was meant to be, my time was up, they're doing the right thing. You know, all this stuff? Which is true, but at the same time inside you feel just pure rejection, and you're struggling with that, but on your own."
Walsh said it was his wife who had suggested to him that he should see a therapist.
"It's that Irish man and just male mentality where you go, 'Is the therapist going to give me a job? Is the therapist going to walk into 2FM and tell them to give me the Breakfast Show back? How's that going to change anything? I also don't need to talk to anybody also on top of it all!'
"It was something that I had kind of thought about before, and I knew I had things in my life that I kind of had to figure out and think about and unravel. So once she said it..."
Walsh said through therapy he had realised that "as a young lad I know now that I was never just fully able to be myself, which is something that I'm learning now".
"I feel like I've got my voice again," he told the host.
"We can see the struggle men are having at the moment. We can see the struggle men are having with what's going on. Men are not dealing very well with their traumas. And it's affecting them, it's affecting their friends and it's affecting their wives and their partners."
Walsh said his wife felt that previously he would not talk or share his feelings.
"As a dad I would have moments... You know yourself - you're sitting in the sitting room, you're sitting in the kitchen... I've two children, two brilliant children, and my wife and they'd be having the absolute craic doing something and I would just be outside of it," he admitted. "I wouldn't be able to join in. I wouldn't feel part of it."
Walsh said he is "surprised by the amount of days I have where I'm happy now". "I actually can't believe [laughs]... I can't believe I got that far."
He urged people to realise that it's not too late to make a change for the better.
"This is what I'm trying to say to people, to men especially: you're not too old. I see men getting into their forties and like, 'This is me for the rest of my life. I've pints on a Friday. I watch the football. I don't really talk to my wife. We don't have sex anymore. This is me for the rest of my life'. It's not. It doesn't have to be. Like, don't accept it... Hopefully by me talking like this some men my age, and women, might decide to do something about it now."
If you have been affected by issues raised in this story, please visit: www.rte.ie/helplines.