Monday gone was World Mental Health day.

I think that talking about your feelings and looking after your mental health is really important and I’m so glad the stigma of mental health issues seems to be reducing but obviously much more needs to be done. Male suicide figures in Ireland are way too high and we need to start talking more about mental health.

We recently had an event in Waterford called ‘Waterford Walls’ It’s an excellent project that provides street art to the walls around the city and this years centrepiece was an amazing mural which covered an old derelict hotel that faces the city. It was created by Joe Caslin (you can follow him on twitter here) and as with most of Caslin’s work, it has a deep meaning behind it. It’s all to raise awareness of Pieta House, the centre for the prevention of self-harm and suicide in Waterford, and A Lust For Life, an organisation dedicated to personal well being.

Break the cycle, talk to your kids about mental health

My little man is 6 and a ½ and is like a sponge, soaking up so much information so when we passed by this amazing mural I thought it would be a good way to have a conversation about mental health. I feel this is the whole point of the mural. (To get people talking)

The following is my conversation with Ben (we go off on a few tangents but I think we get there in the end)

Daddy: Do you see the big picture up there, what do you think it means?

Ben: I don’t know.

Ben: It looks like hes getting a hug

Daddy: Thats right, we all need a hug sometimes, Don’t we?

Ben: Did they build that building just to put up the picture?

Daddy: No, It’s an old hotel. 

Ben: That’s not an old hotel. 

Daddy: It is. It’s just boarded up. 

Ben: Why’s it boarded up?

Daddy: Because it’s derelict. 

Ben: Huh?

Daddy: That means it’s a ruin. Unusable.

Ben: Huh?

Daddy: Emmm, They didn’t want homeless people living in it because it’s dangerous. It could fall down on them. So they covered it in boards for safety. Now they are using it to show a picture that tells people to look out for each other.

Ben: Thats good 

(We’d watched a ‘shutter bugs’ TV program about owls this week)

Ben: Do Owls live there?

Daddy: Hahaha. Maybe


3 hours later… (and very out of the blue)


Ben: It’s important that things are boarded up.

Daddy: Huh?

Ben: Cracks could make them fall down and they might be too weak to repair. 

Ben: That’d be a waste of ……like…………humans

(I found his choice of phrase funny and couldn’t help chuckling)

Ben: DAD!! Stop laughing……..Humans are important!!!. 

Daddy: They are, very important.

Ben: Even safety helmets wouldn’t help them. 

Ben: There’s more homeless people than houses. 

(at this stage I just sat back and listened, I wanted to see where this was going)

Ben: It’s true I saw it on an ad. 

(what did I tell you?… Sponges)

Ben: Ads are true ……….but they may be expensive 

Ben: Everyone is important

Ben: Everyone is God’s family

Ben: Even if they aren’t Christened he will love them. 

(‘This is the gospel according to Ben’ I thought). 

Daddy: You were thinking about that picture weren’t you Ben

Ben: Yeah, (smiles)

Daddy: You’re right. Everyone is important. We should hug them and love them, like the picture says.

Ben: Yeah (Smiles, hugs me and walks away).

Got there in the end.


How did the Bear take the CDO blog?

For those of you looking for an update on how the Bear took last weeks blog. There is no public apology. She actually got a good laugh from my it. Although my heart skipped a few beats as she was reading it.

(I’ve gotten away with it. God, I love pushing my luck.)

I actually got more stick from her when I shaved my head. So it got me thinking… How can I push on from here? …..Well, considering that its World Mental Health week I’ve decided to …… grow a Mo. (She’s going to love that)

Ladies and Gentleman Daddy Poppins will be growing a moustache for Movember ( Well, in all likelihood will be a ginger caterpillar on his lip rather than an actual ‘man moustache’) with a view to raising money to provide support for people with mental health issues and suicide prevention.

So if you would like to support a really good cause (reducing male suicide), just want to see how far I can push my wife or want to see what kind of a ginger mess arrives on my top lip than please sponsor me