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Cavan GAA player Ronan Patterson launches website and clothing range to promote awareness of mental health issues

Some of the clothing available from Ronan Patterson's new website promoting awareness of mental health. Picture from www.needtotalk.ie
John Monaghan

A GAA player who has launched a website and clothing range to promote greater awareness of mental health issues has spoken of his struggles with depression.

Cavan footballer Ronan Patterson said he lost interest in football and admitted his mind was elsewhere even when he was on the pitch at Croke Park for the All-Ireland Minor Final in 2017.

Despite playing GAA for county and club Ramor United - as well as rugby for Ulster - he "didn't care about anything. I just wanted to stay in my bedroom. I didn't feel good at all".

Ronan eventually sought assistance in a message to his brother and was greatly helped by his school counsellor, Fr Jason Murphy at Virginia College, and John Brady, the Cavan GAA minor coach, who had picked up on his low mood and sat down with him for a chat.

However, even at college in Dublin, his battle continued.

"I remember getting an email about AFL trials but I had no interest. A few years previous this would have meant the world to me," he told RTÉ.

Through medication and counselling, his condition gradually improved.

"To me, it's good that I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

"I can control my feelings and how to handle myself when feeling down."

The 21-year-old, from Virginia, has shared his story on social media and at the end of last week launched the website, called 'Need To Talk' and associated clothing. A percentage of its profits will go to help mental health charities.

Ronan said: "If I can help one person, if I can encourage one person to look for help and speak to someone, then I'll be very happy."

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