RTE radio star opens up about battle with depression

She recalls feeling 'helpless'.

It's been difficult for her
It’s been difficult for her

Broadcaster Olivia O’Leary has opened up about her battle with mental illness.

The radio star, who works on RTE’s Drivetime, gave a brave interview on the Today Show With Sean O’Rourke, where she opened up about one of the darkest periods in her life.

Olivia spoke about the beginning of her struggle and how she started putting herself under pressure to represent females in a predominantly male environment.

“I was a new enough reporter in here and I was maybe the only woman doing current affairs, so I was suddenly interviewing the Taoiseach and ministers.

“I had to prove that I could hold my own with the lads, and that included being ready to go to Northern Ireland every weekend, and being ready to sit in the pub from 5.30pm until 11pm at night drinking gin and tonics,” she told Sean.

The broadcaster gave a powerful interview
The broadcaster gave a powerful interview

Olivia believes that the constant drinking had a detrimental effect on her mental health.

“When you’re drinking heavily, I’ve no doubt that has a depressing effect. What’s more is when you’re in your 20s, you can get up the next morning and get on with work. You can be a functioning heavy drinker.

“I’ve always felt that I didn’t want to let the side down. There was a big element of that, but of course anybody who was sensible within the women’s movement would have said, ‘lay off the juice Olivia O’Leary, it’s not great at your age,” she said.

One evening she realised she needed help, so she got in touch with her sister, who came to visit her and brought her straight to a psychiatrist.

Olivia has come through her battle now but still feels  the government need to put more money into mental health services to prevent death from suicide.

“Last year in this country, 500 people died from suicides. How many of those people would have been saved had they been given help in time? Often, that didn’t happen.” she said.



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