independent

Saturday 17 February 2018

Family's insight into illness captivates nation on RTE

AN EMOTIONAL AND HONEST JOURNEY WITH DEPRESSION

The McGinnity family of Dundalk featured in a powerful RTE radio documentary 'My Dad's Depression'.
The McGinnity family of Dundalk featured in a powerful RTE radio documentary 'My Dad's Depression'.

OLIVIA RYAN

A DUNDALK family's emotional and honest insight into the devastating impact of depression has captivated the nation.

The McGinnity family from Dundalk were featured in a powerful RTE radio one documentary 'My Dad's Depression' which focused on their father's lifelong battle with the illness.

The brainchild of documentary maker Conor McGinnity, whose father Peter bravely spoke about his illness, the documentary was so widely listened to, RTE replayed it on the Joe Duffy's 'Liveline' show.

Loyola McGinnity told the Argus that the family have been ' moved and shocked' by the huge outpouring of sympathy from across the country to her husband's moving story, and how it has impacted on their entire family.

'This is a personal story that we have been shocked in many ways has led to so much publicity. But at that same time, we feel it is important to speak out about the ignorance and prejudice that we have been faced with.'

She spoke about the need for people to 'challenge their views on depression' and to realise that people suffering from the illness 'deserve as much respect as someone suffering from any other illness.'

'The reality is that there are no cards for depression. It isn't discussed. It's a taboo subject. You find that when you open up about it that people don't know what to say.'

Loyola added: ' But we as a society need to address that, especially as the rate of suicide is reaching crisis point. Why should anyone be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about depression? We must be prepared to challenge our views, and treat people who have depression with compassion and understanding.'

She said that the worst factor about a member of their family suffering from depression was isolation.

'The isolation was definitely the worst part. Above any illness, I don't think they {a person with depression} should be isolated.'

Since the documentary was broadcast, Loyola said there has been a ' huge outpouring of support' and she was grateful especially for the support of Colaiste Ris, where her children attend school.

Conor, who acted as producer and narrator of the documentary on his dad's illness, added 'In many way's we are a happy family, but we live in the shadow of my dad's depression. It's an unpredictable illness.'

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