Sat in a bustling hub of journalists, RTÉ 2fm presenter Eoghan McDermott picked up a salad. After declining the offer of us interviewing him after he ate, the TV and radio presenter made his way toward the middle of the main canteen in RTÉ, of course just after playfully throwing shapes with Ray D’Arcy. Throwing shapes was normal for the Dublin native.

The Voice of Ireland presenter got into dancing just toward the end of the leaving certificate and into University College Dublin (UCD) studying Politics and Irish. Originally pursuing dancing before broadcasting, the fluent Irish speaker ended up in New York in a dance college. Admittedly, McDermott realised that he was not ‘cut out’ for dancing to make it commercially.

Eoghan McDermott in studio at RTE 2FM: Credit

As he spoke about his late teenage years, McDermott exuded confidence. I found it difficult to believe the same man admittedly self-harmed in his late twenties for a period of six months, but that’s the danger of staying silent through a difficult period in life.

“It was weird like, lots of things in my life were deadly, my job was deadly and I had an amazing circle of friends there. I think the conversation has gotten a lot better now about people being able to formulate their thoughts and deal with issues that are tricky to articulate.”

“It was a very short space of time” he said when discussing how long his self harm went on for. “I didn’t document it at the time so I don’t actually remember so I’d say six months give or take.”

McDermott realised the gravity of the situation and talked to someone who was “very emotionally intelligent.” His friend, like many, had his obstacles in life and also went through a breakup of his own:

“He had been through a very rough break-up. He was a bit older than me and kids were involved and it was very heavy on him. And he had talked to a few professionals and he is also very switched on so he was very good at [helping with] feelings and all that kind of cognitive behavioural therapy, which is such a winner!”

Not being able to quite explain it and being, “ashamed” he was benchmarking the route of his problem was off other peoples’ problems. McDermott did a check list: he concluded he had a “great job, great friends, family was healthy, no money troubles” as well as other “big life” problems that many people generally have – McDermott didn’t have them.

“I just broke up with my girlfriend. And like everyone breaks up with their girlfriend or boyfriend at some stage and it shouldn’t be this big of a deal. So that’s why I was a bit embarrassed about it.”

In hindsight, McDermott would have sought someone a lot earlier saying that he would have saved himself,” six months of a having a terrible time. “If I had known then what I know now type of thing, I would of sought out either a professional or a just somebody who I trusted a lot earlier.”

Credit Emmet Banahan

Before being an Ambassador with Pieta House, the 33-year-old never encountered the mental health organisation directly, “I just met them by chance. I think [Pieta] are amazing.”

“It is kind of sad that they are the biggest name in that space, because its public funded. It’s like the government have offset a lot of the responsibility to them. They are almost a victim of their own success because they are doing so well; because the public trust them, because the public fund them, so the government are happy to step away. I think it is a double-edged sword with Pieta House.”

“I think something at a syllabus level for maybe late primary or early secondary school. Maybe state funded education at a national level, then I think you could eradicate 80% of the problem. It would definitely help people like me who had a mental tough time with mental health.”

Pieta House Contact Information:

24/7 Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1800 247 247

Emmet Banahan