By Rose Barrett
Taekwondo black belt athlete Robbie Weldon Murphy hosted ‘Kicks for Mental Health’ on St Patrick’s Day.
A member of Junsa Taekwondo in Lusk, young Robbie is also a member of the Irish National team.
Currently studying for his Leaving Certificate at Lusk Community College, Robbie knows full well the crippling impact of anxiety and stress.
Despite playing since he was 12, Robbie has been struck down with anxiety and notably, once just before he was due to compete at the European Championships.
He revealed: “I was meant to fight in the European Championships but the night before, I had a really bad attack of anxiety. When you’re participating in a type of fighting sport, you are perceived to be tough.
“You have to be tough to compete; people don’t want to talk about their fears in case it is seen as a weakness within the sport.
“Even within the competitive Taekwondo field, people don’t want to talk about depression, they are uncomfortable. And that’s ridiculous.
“If I injured a bone or a muscle, there is support there for physical injuries, but there isn’t the same level of help and programmes for ongoing mental health issues.”
“The counsellor in my school and the principal have always very kind and supportive; if they see I’m over analysing and over thinking issues, they are always supportive.
“There’s such a stigma around depression. It’s so important to speak about your issues, fears and stresses.”
All donations appreciated: see www.idonate.ie/Kickformentalhealth