Irish News

Thursday 10 July 2014

Rapper on mission to help teens open up

Louise Hogan

Published 02/04/2013|04:00

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Wally O’Loughlin, a rapper from Portlaoise, Co Laois

A RAPPER battling depression has been taking the story of his attempted suicide to schools to help vulnerable young people talk about their problems.

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Wally O'Loughlin (31), from Portlaoise, Co Laois, has urged schools to introduce life-coaching skills to help teenagers deal with their emotions.

"A big factor in today's society is technology – phones and Facebook.

"The value of conversation has slipped away," said O'Loughlin, who tried to take his own life in 2009.

"Half the time teenagers are putting smiley faces at the end of their text messages but they are hiding behind that smiley face. Schools need to introduce life coaching to ensure they talk."

The rapper has been travelling to schools, along with radio DJ turned film-maker Ann Marie Kelly, to take their mental health project 'Hear Me See Me' to young people.

The presenter of the breakfast show on Midlands 103 explained that at the end of each session in the school they show her documentary, 'Wally' on the rapper's life.

"Everybody loves a happy ending and this story aims to give hope to people who are suffering with depression or addiction," said Kelly, who followed the rapper for two years.

She is meeting with the HSE to discuss rolling it out to more schools.

O'Loughlin said that for him the key to tackling depression was about "accepting that I needed help" and dealing with his alcohol and drug-taking.

The documentary 'Wally' airs tonight on RTE1 at 10.35pm

Irish Independent

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