Mental health the topic of new book from Cork author

"I think the younger generation are seeing a real impact, with people starting to open up.” 
Mental health the topic of new book from Cork author

Cork author Daragh Fleming is launching his autobiography Lonely Boy in Cork City Library this evening, at 6.30pm. All are welcome

Cork city library is playing host to the launch of the autobiography ‘Lonely Boy’ by Cork author Daragh Fleming this evening.

Daragh has managed to turn his negative experiences of battling mental issues into positive action by publishing a book which recounts his story and delves into the topic of men’s emotional lives.

Daragh is an ambassador for See Change, Ireland’s organisation dedicated to ending mental health stigma. “Our work is informed by people with lived experiences of mental health difficulties, who are best placed to give insight into mental health stigma and discrimination,” states its mission.

Lonely Boy was inspired by Daragh’s childhood and losing his best friend to suicide at the age of 17, and it is being launched in the library on the Grand Parade at 6.30pm.

Daragh grew up in Ballinlough, Glounthaune, and Douglas. He was inspired to write the book out of a blog he’s been writing for the past seven years, called Thoughts Too Big. 

“We have a lot of mental health awareness, but I think the next step is to normalise the conversation about mental health, and so the book is an extension of that,” he said.

Lonely Boy is a collection of essays examining how traumatic experiences can trigger mental health episodes, and delves into the psychology of young men’s lives, and masculinity. 

“When I was growing up, if you cried, you were called a girl. Or if you were into poetry, or anything emotional, you were teased,” said Daragh.

“It just becomes this unspoken thing where if you show your emotion, you’re seen as ‘weak’. I think that’s changed, but it’s a generational change. 

"I think the younger generation are seeing a real impact, with people starting to open up.” 

Podcasts by Limerick’s Blindboy, Cork’s The Two Norries, and others, are beginning to open the door, and break down taboos, said Daragh. 

“That will have an impact on the future generation, where young men will see that it is ok for them to talk about their mental health, and their emotions.” 

Four out of five suicides are by men. 

“Although we’re encouraging men to talk, change doesn’t happen overnight,” said Daragh. 

Lonely Boy started life on January 3, 2020, when Daragh came across an old notebook. It took him about 15 months to write, “but it was very much a journal that helped me work out my own issues,” he said.

Daragh said he has received positive feedback from others. A UCC Psychology Professor’s research shows that when men hear other men talk about their own mental health, it increases their chances of seeking help.

“When you open up about it, it invites other people to talk to you. Even among my own friends now, they are far more likely to say if something was wrong.” 

Daragh he said he thinks shame plays a huge part in young men’s lives, with expectation that men should be ‘strong’. “I think it’s the way we’ve framed masculinity. Men are portrayed as macho, and just expected to get the work done.” 

Masculinity should also include “being vulnerable and being willing to seek help.”

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