Mental health activist and entertainer Bob Carley on why we all need to look after our mental health - one step at a time
Entertainer and charity fundraiser Bob Carley speaks about the mental health well-being he learned through depression and bereavement.
In a deeply honest and entertaining account of his life that goes from school days on Dublin’s north side, through panic attacks and depression, to building a memorial hospital in Uganda, the highly engaging Carley talks through the lessons he learned along the way.
Speaking at a Tedx conference in Galway, Carley begins by quoting TED's tagline, saying he has an idea worth spreading and it's that "love never fails.”
Carley takes aim at the stigma surrounding mental health issues. “They say there's a one-in-four chance you'll have a mental health issue... Here's the good news, it's four-in-four. We all have mental health we all need to look after it."
He also criticises the lack of mental health education in schools and explained how he learned coping strategies through experience.
“When I was 21 I went through serious panic attacks and I didn't even know what they were.
“When I was 35 I went through black depression for about nine months, I just couldn't lift my head, and I didn't know what it was,” he added.
Carley outlines the three tips he picked up along the way that helped him maintain a positive outlook.
The first is that there’s a “health continuum.” Everyone has good days and bad days. People seek to go from bad days to good days in one jump. However that’s not how it works, instead Carley advocates a gradual process where you take it one step at a time.
The second tip was to “control your thoughts."
“Thoughts become mood, mood becomes words and actions and that becomes results.”
“You know you've 65,000 thoughts a day, if you're Irish most are negative,” he jokes.
The final piece of advice was the most poignant when Carley reminded the audience that: “Love never fails.”
This became a maxim for Carley as he struggled with relationship problems, depression and the loss of his wife, who he met when aged just 13 and lost at 49.
While he still has to work on his mental health, Carley's positive outlook has helped him build a hospital in honour of his childhood sweetheart, continue his work raising awareness about mental health, be a father to his children and even to find new love.