Irish News

Thursday 31 July 2014

Talking helped me battle depression – track icon Coghlan

Cormac Murphy

Published 24/04/2014|12:20

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Fine Gael Senator Eamonn  Coghlan
Fine Gael Senator Eamonn Coghlan
Eamon Coghlan winning the 1500m National Track and Field in 1980
Eamon Coghlan winning the 1500m National Track and Field in 1980

OLYMPIC hero Eamonn Coghlan has spoken of his battle against depression and revealed he has lost close friends to the illness.

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The senator found it difficult to cope when his athletics career came to an end and only got through by opening up to his family, he said. But other people he knew were not so lucky.

“Sadly, I have known several people, really close friends and neighbours, who have

taken their own lives. When I was down I got through it by talking. Now I feel fantastic and I love life. I want to get the message out there no one needs to go it alone,” Eamonn said.

The three-time Olympian has urged people who are feeling depressed, suicidal or in despair to talk to suicide prevention and bereavement charity Console.

He said: “When I finished running competitively, I was down and, thankfully, my family recognised that. It seems simple now but once I identified why I was down and got on top of it, I recovered.

“This is why it is so important that people who are in trouble talk about their problems.

“There's loads of help out there. You may feel you can't talk to your friends or your neighbours but you can always talk to organisations such as Console.”

Coghlan, dressed as Davy Jones, recently performed the Monkees' Daydream Believer in aid of Console on the Late Late Show's Reach for the Stars competition.

The former athlete said: “Three thousand people in distress call Console's 24-hour helpline every month and get immediate, professional help.

     “There is always someone you can talk to... and the number is easy to remember – 1800 247 247,” added the sporting great.

He wants members of the public to support the charity by texting Star 2 to 53125 before the lines close at noon tomorrow.

Each text cost 60 cent and a minimum of 48 cent goes to the charity.

Console founder and CEO Paul Kelly said: “Eamonn is right about talking, if you are in distress or you are concerned about a loved one, don't suffer in silence, please pick up the phone and talk to Console.

“There is help available and above all there is hope.”

He added: “Console needs to raise 70pc of the funding required to keep our 24 hour helpline and our centres, which provide one-to-one counselling and psychotherapy for people at risk of suicide, running.

“So this fantastic gesture by Eamonn and RTE is much appreciated.”

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