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Niall Breslin, Jeffrey and Mental Health

Bressie talks about Jeffrey in his new book

Talk around mental health in Ireland and further afield tends to focus on facts and figures. A report released by the European Child Safety Alliance in 2014 showed that Ireland has one of the highest rates of death by suicide in Europe among young people under 25. A World Health Organisation (WHO) report showed recently that over 800,000 people each year die by suicide across the world.

The statistics are startling and often upsetting. However, discussion of the people behind the numbers has often been left aside, with talk of mental health and fitness only coming to the fore when a person has already been suffering. It has often been said that prevention is better than cure; where mental health is concerned, this saying seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Household name Niall Breslin has brought discussion of mental health and wellbeing to the fore recently with his new book, Me and My Mate Jeffrey. The book chronicles in a raw and often harrowing way Breslin’s own struggles with depression and anxiety. “Everybody has a Jeffrey,” says Breslin. “You’ve seen all the animations of the black dog of depression and stuff like that. Jeffrey is the name I gave my mental health issues. I’m a very competitive person… I felt if I had a person or an object or something I could humanize, then I could actually get competitive with it and learn to deal with it and understand it.”

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