WATCH: Limerick hurling legend Ciaran Carey reveals he contemplated suicide in powerful speech

Fintan Walsh

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Fintan Walsh

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fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

LIMERICK hurling legend Ciaran Carey has revealed he contemplated suicide, during a powerful speech he delivered this Friday evening. 

The 49-year-old Patrickswell man, who achieved three All-Star awards during his successful career in the 1990s, delivered a passionate speech about his experience with addiction and mental health at the launch of the Haven Hub in Limerick city. 

The Haven Hub, a “safe space” supported by a range of local agencies and services for peer support and suicide prevention, officially launched at its new base at Limerick Social Services Centre on Henry Street. 

The guest speaker, who qualified with a diploma in psychotherapy in 2018, opened up about experiencing mental health difficulities when he was just seven or eight years of age. 

“I do remember my own mental health issues when they started. I think I might have been around seven or eight years of age. That’s when it started, when I felt: ‘I am different.’ It was just a simple comment, really. I think it was at school. I think it was in senior infants, and a teacher made a remark to me. I think she said: ‘You’ll end up sweeping the streets of Patrickswell.’ 

“And I believed that lie for years, and I brought that on with me throughout my secondary. Of course I wanted to go to college, but I believed I wasn’t academically good enough to go to college,” he said, adding that he went to college as a mature student.

He said that it was only until eight or nine years ago that he started to “come to grips with life and tapping into fulfilling my own potential as a human being. And it is because I am well and emotionally well and I am spiritually well, and I was all the opposite for years. 

“My way of dealing with it would have been locking it up in a little box here, and wrapping it with chains,” he said, pointing to his abdomen.

During his moving speech, he spoke about his battle with suicidal ideation and how he overcame it by seeking help.

“Did I play with the idea of suicide myself? I did. And thankfully I didn’t follow through. What would have prevented me? I suppose, thinking of my two kids, number one, and eventually I reached out for a bit of help. 

“Reaching out for help sounds so simple, but when you’re in the depths of depression and a black hole and you still have the shovel in your hand and the hole is getting deeper, it’s a very brave and courageous thing to do.”

He said he went back to college, got a diploma in psychotherapy and received his diploma in psychotherapy in 2018. 

He said working with Novas was a “great introduction” to addiction and suicide. 

“It isn’t easy to come out the other side. It takes a lot of self-care and a lot of work that I continued through myself.”

Before finishing his speech he said: “Everybody has the potential, if they don’t look after themselves, to be addicted or go down the wrong path.”

The Haven Hub is chaired by Leona O’Callaghan, a well-known advocate for mental health services. 

She said the Hub is “about Limerick people coming together to try and solve a problem that we have in Limerick”. 

The Hub is supported by An Garda Siochana, Rape Crisis Mid-West, Novas, Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention, Beford Row Project, Our Lady of Loures Primary School, Limerick Social Services, Survivor Support Anonymous, Grow, Limerick Mental Health Association and many more. 

Sandra Byrnes, whose daughter Yasmin died by suicide three months ago, spoke of the need for dual diagnosis services in Limerick. 

A room at the hub has been dedicated to the memory of the late Yasmin-Lee Williams, and has been named Yazi’s Family Haven Room. 

TD Maurice Quinlivan spoke about the need for more Government funding for the Mid-West Drugs Taskforce. He was joined by other local representatives, Sen Maria Byrne, TD Jan O’Sullivan, Cllr John Costelloe and Cllr Conor Sheehan.