Saturday 19 August 2017

Son of late Brian Lenihan opens up on depression battle

Tom Lenihan with his late father, Brian Lenihan.
Tom Lenihan with his late father, Brian Lenihan.
Brian Lenihan Newsdesk Newsdesk

The son of the late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has said there is help for anyone who is battling depression if they confront their demons.

Tom Lenihan was speaking on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live programme tonight during a discussion about mental health and what can be done to help young people battling depression.

The former Trinity College Student’s Union President, who has previously spoken about his battle with depression,  said he had learnt form his mistakes and added this was the best way to overcome internal struggles.

“It took my mistakes to learn how I was going to get out of this. Some of them were horrific mistakes that I’m not proud of,” he said.

He said it was during a talk by mental health charity Aware to realise he was depressed but said putting a “label” on it made it easier to deal with.

He said it is very difficult for teachers and people working with young people to know how to help those who are depressed and said he had tried to take his life on two occasions.

Brian Lenihan
Brian Lenihan

“How do you handle that? It’s an existential crisis. When a kid goes ‘I don’t want to live anymore’ what do you say to that kid?” he said.

“You try and do the best for him but I had a suicide attempt in my sixth year. I kind of wonder: there’s a lot of people that knew it at the time but I covered it up because I was good at that. I lied through my teeth about it,” he said.

He added: “I think we can learn from people’s mistakes more. My mistake was I let it to go to such an extent that the only way I saw was suicide. That’s never an answer and once you take that off the table, there’s definitely support.

Asked what advice he would have for young people, he said it is difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes but urged young people to “hold on”.

“I had two suicide attempts and it does actually get better once you confront it,” he said.

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