independent

Sunday 22 October 2017

Wexford brothers fund raisers draw attention to mental health issues

John (left) and Brendan Staples
John (left) and Brendan Staples

David Tucker

Wexford brothers Brendan and John Staples are doing without the demon drink for the year to raise mental health awareness and funds for Pieta House.

The booze-free year is part of a 'Don't Bottle It' campaign which has included head and beard shaves, a darts night, a fancy dress car wash and on Saturday (August 5) the brothers are planning a 24-mile run wearing weighted vests, 'symbolic of the additional weight we carry on our shoulders when we suffer with mental health problems'.

'Our family has a history of problems with mental health so it has always been something I've wanted to help out with in some way,' said Brendan, a son of former Wexford Mayor Frank Staples, from Ballycogley.

'It's been amazing to see the level of support family and friends are willing to give when you put yourself out there and take part in something like this. There are some great people out there and thankfully they only live up the road,' said Brendan, who lives in Wellintonbridge.

'Myself and John gave up drinking any alcohol on new year's night at midnight and are staying sober until the end of the year.

'I think the social aspect of Irish society is far too dependent on alcohol. We wish our working days away so it can be the weekend. We get stressed at work, with our kids or with our partners and we can't wait for a pint or glass of wine at the end of the day. It's not healthy!' said personal trainer Brendan.

'Alcohol is the worst but food, cigarettes and even drugs are now a common crutch we lean on from day to day to cope with the stresses in our lives. It's important that we adjust our mindsets, we shouldn't struggle from weekend to weekend in a sad and depressed state.

'If we have problems with our job, our partner or our family then address the problem. Take action and find a solution. Then use alcohol or food or whatever it is as a treat every now and then,' said John.

John, who is planning to become a social care worker, said that since giving up drink, both he and Brendan, are 'new men'.

'Our Moods are much better, very few low days, much more energy and far more driven. Our physical and mental health has improved dramatically which makes me think that I may never drink again,' said Brendan. 'It does me good to know there are groups out there like Pieta House that give us an outlet for our problems. Pieta House isn't just for people with suicidal thoughts, it's for anyone who is feeling out of sorts or under pressure.' The run begins at the SuperValu car park in New Ross at 8 a.m. on Saturday and will follow the main road to Wexford town, finishing at the boardwalk on the Quays.

For more information, see the boys' facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Dont-bottle-it-My-mental-health-challenge-1742366449416347/#

Gorey Guardian

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