I published an article yesterday about what Olivia O'Leary said on Tuesday in her column for RTÉ Radio 1's Drivetime and last night, it kept running through my head. She has raised awareness of the need for increased resources for mental health. So far, nothing out of the ordinary from one of the country's leading journalists and broadcasters, who regularly shines a light when and where needed. What is extraordinary, brave, breathtaking is her willingness to share her personal story with us - this is invaluable.
I didn't think that I could respect her as a journalist, a broadcaster, a woman, more than I already did but following this broadcast, I think she has left many of us in awe. The thing is she didn't have an agenda, a mighty self-aggrandising plan. By praising Fianna Fail TD Robert Troy for speaking honestly about his own mental health issue in the Dail last week, she decided to go one step further and share her own story. Her belief in the importance of openness about mental health in modern Ireland led her to open up about her own struggles with depression.
At this stage in her life and career, she didn't need to do this, to make herself vulnerable in any way, to bravely unveil this private battle that she has faced and continues to face head-on as she said in the broadcast (listen back below). The 'why' is answered by her belief that sharing will help others, the one in ten amongst us who suffer with depression at any one time.
As usual she did it with style, intelligence and, naturally, a call to action from the new government.
I have had the opportunity through work to meet many of the world's most famous Irish and International popculture personalities but it is often the real-life heroes who leave you star struck.
I met her once when working with the brilliant Drivetime team in the lead up to last year's referendums but I quickly wrapped myself behind the security blanket of the PC monitor and observed her interacting with another journalistic great, Mary Wilson. Warm and approachable as they may be, years of witnessing their work means it is unwise to leave the star struck you in the driving seat!
Will the broadcast make any difference? Undoubtedly. It already has - it became the number one Trend in Ireland on Twitter when it was broadcast and media across the land have covered the story. As any government knows, new or otherwise, her calls to action are not to be ignored. Is she happy with the response? I hope so. Maybe one day when I get the courage, I'll ask her.
The broadcaster spoke about the reaction to her column yesterday on Today with Sean O'Rourke.