HSE releases appeal video of cancer victim Donal Walsh

Late teenager appeals to young people to talk about their problems

The Health Service Executive has released a short video about Kerry teenager Donal Walsh, who made an impassioned plea for young people to talk about their problems before he died from cancer in May.

The 16-year-old wrote an open letter to the media about young people and suicide earlier this year, before appearing on RTÉ’s Saturday Night Show where he spoke about how he was coping with his illness, and encouraged others who are feeling low to talk to someone they trust.

The video, which is aimed at 15- to 19-year-olds, features excerpts from the show, as well as an interview with Donal filmed at his home in Tralee.

“When I am feeling low because of what happened to me I take time to think, I try to realise where the good is in my life over the bad things,” he said.

“I talk to my parents, or find a friend to talk to, and we’d look ahead in life, we’d see where I was going to go or what I was going to do, or we’d talk about what my dreams are and what my hopes are for the future.

“I would say someone who is standing there in a room and they feel there is no windows and no doors, just black, to take time, a door will open and someone will be at that door. You can go to the door as well. Anyone can find their own door out. They just have to ask. It takes a lot of courage to ask.”

Irish musician Niall “Bressie” Breslin, who has talked openly about his own mental health issues in recent months, provided the voiceover.

The film, played on the Saturday Night Show last night, was made with the support of the Walsh family by the HSE’s National Office of Suicide Prevention, at the request of Minister of State with responsibility for mental health Kathleen Lynch.