Local programme encourages young men to ask for help

Local programme encourages young men to ask for help

By Maurice Garvey

COACH John Kavanagh is best known for helping martial arts fighters harness their skills, but he is also proving adept at helping youngsters work through mental health issues.

Kavanagh is supporting a new mental health programme which combines physical exercise with personal development.

Breakthrough mental health 19 Janaury 2017

The breakthrough programme was developed by Geoffrey McCarthy, General Manager at the Beacon of Light Counselling Centre in Clondalkin and Karl Cannon.

The 10-week course is designed for men aged 18-30 years-of-age and takes place at Coach Kavanagh’s Straight Blast Gym on the Old Naas Road in Dublin 12.

McCarthy identified the need for such a programme, citing a worrying level of suicide rates in the area where he worked.

“Suicide rates among young males specially in West Dublin but also nationally amongst young men are the highest suicide risk category,” said McCarthy.

“I designed the programme, Karl Cannon coaches the classes, there is one-to-one counselling, and it is run in conjunction with SGB. Coach Kavanagh has helped with the promotion of the course, and provided some training free-of-charge.”

The aim of the programme is to encourage young men to ask for help.

McCarthy continued: “We’re running the first phase of the programme now with five to eight lads, and the second phase will be in March. The Coca Cola Thank You fund provided €10k, which allows the programme to run one cycle.

“At the end of the 10-week cycle, participants can continue, for a small fee of €10, but if finance is an issue, we can address that. The programme is confidential. Nobody needs to know why lads are training in SGB. This isn’t a one size fits all response to mental health, but it provides a decent alternative.”

The next step for McCarthy is to grow the programme, co-ordinate with other mental health groups and to try and secure funding from the private sector and statutory agencies.

Anyone interested can contact Geoffrey McCarthy at 085 8833903 or email geoffrey@beaconoflight.ie

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