Offaly Mental Health Campaigner calls for crisis centers

Written 5 months ago by Tara McCormack

A mental health campaigner from Tullamore, Co Offaly is calling for 24/7 crisis centers across the Midlands for those struggling with their mental health.

Rahan man Ray Larkin was a big fan of The Faithful County  back in the 80’s and 90’s, appearing in the national media for his colorful and antics and cheering

Behind the cheering was a dark “cloud” which ray believes masked his inner feelings. He says anxiety reminds him of a digger sitting on his chest, you cant move  ” Two years ago or more the depression started to get worse and I knew something was not right. It looked like a cloud in my mind. There is no way out of it,  your in the bed maybe 5 or 6 weeks and you can get out of it, you cant wash or get a change of clothes.”

In October 2017 his Anxiety and depression reached breaking point “After work I drove to an isolated place and decided I wanted to die by suicide.” I decided I had choices die by suicide or contact my sister,” he said.

Ray thought of his children and the aftermath of dying by suicide and he realised for his children’s sake of noting having to visit their father in the grave yard that he reached out to his sister for help

His sister took the mental health campaigner to the MidDoc where he was the referred to the Psychiatric Hospital in Portlaoise.

After being accessed by Doctors, he received a prescription for medication his wife took him home.

Shortly after Ray got in touch with the Tullamore Health Center and met with counselors.

Ray who is now on regular medication for his anxiety says for the first time he felt there was support for him “ A woman came out and introduced herself and said we had one day, two days, three days, whatever necessary, to hear my story. I started to cry and was with her three hours getting my story out.”

The former plumber was then advised to attend an Aware group meeting and from these meeting Ray had managed to control his anxiety and depression.

The Offaly man says he has learned how to manage his anxiety through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)- “You change your way of thinking in life and try new things,” he said.

He now wants to help others in the same situation that he was in- campaigning for change across the mental health services.

The Offaly man is now busy is now busy organising a suicide awareness walk in Rahan for later in the year as well as planning a pilgrimage along the Camino in Spain.

He has organised a special mass for everyone that’s been effected by suicide, depression and anxiety on Sunday April 28th in Killina which will be followed by a small darkness into light walk

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact Samaritans helpline 116 123 or Aware helpline 1800 80 48 48 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247.