A brand new four-part documentary series has landed on RTÉ Player. I'm Fine follows Lorcán McMullan, Ray Connellan, Conor O'Keeffe and Hugh Mulligan as they speak about their struggles with mental health.

We caught up with Ray Connellan, a GAA star who made a name for himself playing with his club in Athlone and Westmeath, about his mental health journey. The 26-year-old experienced depression, panic attacks, and suicidal ideation* in his late teens following a series of bereavements, but has since overcome his mental health issues and become an advocate for those suffering in silence.

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Connellan first spoke out about his struggle with depression last winter in an interview with the Irish Independent and admits that he was "pretty naive" about the impact it would have and the publicity it would lead to.

Soon after the interview hit stands, the GAA star was approached by a childhood friend, video Editor Michael Fitzpatrick, who asked him to take part in I'm Fine, a documentary that would lead to various press opportunities including a spot on The Late Late Show.

"I definitely didn't anticipate the reaction that the documentary has gotten," Ray tells me over the phone, "particularly with going on The Late Late Show, and the reaction since that. It's been fairly overwhelming in a way. I was probably a bit naive and didn't realise the size of it.

"I suppose going what I've gone through... there's a lot of Ray Connellans out there playing sport who think that they should be OK but for some reason they're not. I felt like I might be relatable and if opening up helps just one person, you should just do it. It's a bigger picture then and not just about your nerves and opening up."

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Following his appearance on both the documentary and The Late Late Show, Connellan says there was a tidal wave of messages, well-wishes, and thanks on social media.

"I've never experienced anything like it," he says. "Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of messages from friends, family, people I went to the Gaeltacht with in sixth year and haven't spoke to since. Messages from strangers who the show resonated with. My phone was freezing, it was crazy."

"I started just crying," he continued, "it was so overwhelming, in a happy way."

Some of the most surprising messages, says Connellan, were those he received from male friends who wouldn't usually open up about their emotions. Following this, the 26-year-old says he believes the documentary will serve as a much-needed talking point for young men across the country.

"It's powerful stuff," he says. "It can be hard to except when something is about you and really appreciate the size of it, but I really think this documentary could be a massive turning point in Irish society."

"The way it's been received, it feels like it's something bigger than what we ever anticipated. I'm not sure if we can really appreciate, just yet, the scale at which this is actually being received."

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Speaking about his fellow documentary subjects - hurling star Lorcán McMullan, ultra-marathon runner Conor O'Keeffe, and musician Hugh Mulligan (aka Malaki) - Connellan says that while they had all come from different backgrounds, and lived through different experiences, one feeling in particular bonded them: guilt.

"We all agreed when we spoke that we all felt guilty about feeling bad," explained Ray. "We felt we weren't entitled to it because of the lives we had. Not one of us is from a really underprivileged background, but we still had these issues."

"That can amplify how bad you feel, but this thing doesn't discriminate. You shouldn't feel bad for feeling the way you do, these things happen. You just have to learn how to handle them and cope."

"There shouldn't be a stereotype about who should be depressed," he continued, "it doesn't discriminate."

"You've got me, the stereotypical sporty young lad playing GAA; you've got Malaki with piercings and nail varnish who writes poems; you've got Conor who is like no one I've ever met, lives at the bottom of a mountain and goes on 200 mile runs; you've got Lorcan from Belfast, playing hurling and is the other GAA type."

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Over the past number of years, Connellan has overcome his battle with depression and is now living in a much better headspace. The one thing he hopes viewers take away from the documentary is that things it's perfectly normal to hit a roadblock, but we need to be willing to speak to one another about it.

"If you look at our time on The Late Late, there's four men sitting in a circle having a chat - all that's missing is the setting of the pub or the changing room."

"This conversation is normal," he continues. "They don't have to only take place in an emergency. Why can't someone turn to their mates and say "I'm f***ing in bits"? That's something I want to see change. That this becomes normal and is talked about in the same way as a physical illness. It's just there and it can be addressed."

I'm Fine is exclusively on RTÉ Player and is sponsored by Electric Ireland. Electric Ireland is proud to continue to shine a light on mental health through it's long-term partnership with Pieta and Darkness Into Light and now through the I'm Fine series. During the darkest of times, we're Brighter Together.

*If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact; The Samaritans (phone 116123), or Pieta House (1800247247) .