Former Miss Tipperary: 'No matter how alone you feel, you're not alone'
Former Miss Tipperary Linda Creedon has highlighted the tough position many people are in when friends and family struggle with mental health.
The model and student was sharing her own experience of anxiety and depression for Pieta House as part of Suicide Awareness Week.
Linda also said she understood the difficulty faced by those trying to help their loved ones recover from depression.
"While we are creating all this awareness, it must be so hard to be that other person," she said.
However, she encouraged people not to be afraid to talk to them about their feelings.
"If a person comes to you to say they need to talk about it, they obviously trust you."
"The worst thing would be to not take it seriously," she added.
Linda is set to finish nursing at University College Cork (UCC) next week, but has also been campaigning with Pieta House for Suicide Awareness Week.
"It's crazy. A lot of people finish college and it's normal, but for me it's amazing," she said.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Linda said she had become withdrawn and began to feel down a number of years ago due to the everyday pressures of college life.
"It was a build-up of a lot of small things, and it just escalated into a big problem," she recalled.
Linda added that it was often difficult to confront negative feelings when they were caused by everyday stress, saying that people often believe they don't have a good enough reason to feel upset.
Linda reminded those who are grappling with anxiety and loneliness to seek help and speak out, saying that almost everyone goes through similar experiences.
"No matter how alone you feel, you are not alone. You would have to be very lucky to have never felt that way," she said.
"There are services, and many people around you who want you to get better," she added. "Once you make the first step, it gets so much easier."
After finding it difficult to deal with the way she felt, Linda approached Pieta House in Cork for help.
"They are all professionals, but they are really understanding, and they really want you to get better," she added.
Since then, Linda has actively fundraised for the organisation on a regular basis. After a while, she offered to share her own experience to raise awareness.
"They had done so much for me, so I wanted to do something for them."
Pieta House first opened in Lucan, Co Dublin, nine years ago. Since then, it has opened eight more centres throughout the country and has assisted more than 18,000 people.
Linda won the Miss Tipperary crown in 2014, and has since been an advocate and fundraiser for mental health.
Last year, a video she made about online bullying went viral, attracting around 200,000 views.
She was speaking out ahead of the World Suicide Prevention Day Conference, due to take place in the Aviva Stadium today.
The conference will feature a number of keynote speakers, including musician Niall 'Bressie' Breslin, GP and author Dr Harry Barry, and numerous experts from Australia and New Zealand.
Organised by Console, the conference will highlight the importance of building adaptability and problem-solving skills in young people.
It will also offer participants the chance to discuss a 'life skills tool box' programme, previously used to build resilience among workers in construction in Australia.
The event will be chaired by broadcaster Grainne Seoige.
Meanwhile, Pieta House will hold its annual TM cycle from Dublin to Offaly and back again on September 26.
*Console is available on 1800 247 247