Donal Walsh: LiveLife
This video was produced by the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) with the support of the Walsh family and friends. Donal’s message focuses on encouraging young people, who are feeling low or going through tough times, to talk to someone they trust and to seek help.
In 2013 a Kerry teenager called Donal Walsh appeared on RTE’s Saturday night show. Donal had been living with cancer for over four years and he spoke about how he was coping with the disease.
“Mostly I’m living a normal life as possible like, and my friends see it that way and kind of do as well but it is catching up with me a bit now. But I’m kind of battling on stubbornly.”
Donal had been invited onto the show because of a letter he had written to the media, encouraging young people to talk to someone they trusted about the problems they faced. Donal loved life and wanted other young people to know that help was out there.
“No one’s gonna judge you at all because everyone has to open up. It’s something everyone has to do. Why keep it to yourself when people you love and that love you are there to help you? They want to help you. They want to get rid of these feelings that you’re feeling.”
Throughout his illness Donal had relied on his family and his friends to help them through the tough times.
“When I’m 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 that would be making me feel low. I’d talk to my parents alright, I’d usually find a friend to talk to and we’d look ahead in life. We’d see where I was gonna go and what I was gonna do, and we’d talk about what my dreams are and what my hopes are for the future. To never stop at the present or to never stop at the past.”
Donal knew that many young people struggle with life’s challenges. He knew that it took courage to ask for help. But he wanted teenagers like himself to know that help is out there.
“So I’d say to someone who’s standing there in a room when they feel there’s no windows or no doors and it’s just black, to take time and a door will open. 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 as well to ask. Take time and search for their door I’d say.”
Donal sadly passed away on the 12th of May 2013. His message about valuing life and seeking help is part of his legacy.
If you or someone you know is going through tough times, or would like information about services for young people, visit ReachOut.com.