Niall urges young men to speak out about mental health

mental health

FOLLOWING World Mental Health Day, which took place on Tuesday, one local practitioner has launched an impassioned campaign encouraging Fermanagh’s young men to come forward and speak out about their experiences.

Niall McAlinden is a mental health consultant with the Thrive Programme, and is based at Fermanagh House one day a week. Still a young man himself, Niall experienced depression and anxiety throughout his teenage years and is now on a mission to help other young men, encouraging them to seek help. It is a task that is as difficult as it sounds.

“I’ve specifically targeted young men, but it’s ridiculously hard to get them to come forward,” said Niall.


“I have been using Facebook to reach them, as a lot young men use Facebook. If I advertise to women over 30 I get about 15-20 times more responses than if I target males under 30.”

Niall said it was no coincidence the suicide rate was so high among this demographic, stating he believes societal pressures are what prevent young men and teenagers from seeking help.

“If you think about it, young males in today’s society, young people in general actually, are under so much pressure to be best in everything and have the best in everything,” he said, adding young men are always expected to be “having a laugh” or carrying on.

“It’s very rare to see a young man putting his arm around his friend and asking him if he’s all right or to offer a helping hand or someone to talk about it.”

Niall added social media was exacerbating the problem, with people viewing photos of their friends’ seemingly perfect lives day in and day out.

Overall, he said change needs to happen at a societal level, stating mental health issues need to become normalised. This could happen both through young men who have experienced issues speaking up about their experiences and by schools providing visible mental health services to young people.

“If someone at the age of 14 or 16 sees in his school there is a place you can go for your mental health he’ll start to think, this is normal, this is an issue that is really common,” he said.


To get in touch with Niall, who offers free consultations, contact him on at his page “Thrive with Niall” on Facebook or visit him


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