Intentionally or not, Niall Breslin AKA Bressie has become an ambassador, of sorts, for people suffering from anxiety and other mental health disorders.
The lack of services in Ireland for people suffering with mental health issues is well documented, but in his campaigning Bressie does not show anger or contempt, but instead he leads programmes such as My 1000 Hours.
The My 1000 Hours initiative aims to help people cope with anxiety and other mental health issues through exercise and mass participation in this exercise. By publishing weekly exercise routines leading to a 5K or 10K fun run in the Phoenix Park on March 7th, the programme has gained attention and traction across the country.
Bressie has spoken openly about his struggle with anxiety and said the purpose of my1000hours is to eliminate the stigma attached to mental health.
Being a person who has suffered with anxiety, the most welcome aspect of this initiative is the fact that we seem to have a leader in Bressie, whether he likes it or not. The role he has assumed should probably be occupied by a politician, but there have been no willing candidates.
Anybody who has suffered with their mental health will testify that telling somebody and feeling alone are two of the biggest problems to overcome. Having somebody like Bressie who has told his story and who is actively telling people they are not alone is having a huge effect on me and many people I know.
My 1000 Hours has stacked up over 4,000 likes on Facebook and has 7,255 followers on Twitter so people now have quantitative evidence that they are not alone in their struggles. When pictures emerged on March 7th of the masses of people participating, there was finally a uniting force joining together the many people in our society suffering with mental health problems.
The battle to eradicate the stigma attached to mental health will not disappear after the fun run in the Phoenix Park, but it is a start. It gives people a platform to talk about their mental health and be sure they are not alone. It gives people a social gathering to collectively say “it’s okay not to be okay” and that is more than any government has done so far.
For this, I thank Bressie and the My 1000 Hours team.
For more information on the My 1000 Hours initiative, click here.