FORMER Mr World Kamal Ibrahim has spoken out for the first time about his battle with depression on national TV this week, to highlight the effects the recession has had on young people.
The Limerick native and presenter of the Lotto draw shared his personal experience on the Claire Byrne Live show on RTE1 but stressed he never let mental health issues hold him back.
With very little time to share his views, Kamal encouraged the importance of talking.
“If you can find one person to talk to, whether it’s a doctor, psychiatrist, a friend or even a stranger. Someone who you can talk to and say, I have a problem, that’s where help comes in to fix it.”
In 2007, the male model was engaged, had a full time job in recruitment and had just bought a new house. When the recession hit, Kamal lost his job in recruitment.
“It was just a domino effect from there,” he said. “I had a nice big house that came with a big mortgage I couldn’t afford to pay in the countryside where I was isolated.
“Things just spiralled from there really. It was early 2008 when I went into a very dark place.
“I had lost weight. I didn’t look well and I wasn’t getting any modelling jobs,” said Kamal. It was after this he knew he had to make drastic changes.
In 2009 Kamal went on to win Mr Ireland. In 2010 he won Mr World and a year later he established a career on television.
“I’ve travelled all over the world. I’ve done so much since then. It propelled me, it didn’t hold me back.”
Addressing the issues surrounding mental health, he said: “It’s like the big secret that everybody knows.”
Speaking after the show to the Limerick Leader, Kamal said while he is not suffering with depression now, he is somebody who knows what it’s like.
The segment, unfortunately was cut to less than five minutes.
“There should have been more care given,” said Kamal, “It’s kind of ironic that we ended up with so little time, it’s almost symbolic of how society looks and treats mental health issues.”