PJ Gallagher explores Ireland’s fight for mental wellness in new RTÉ documentary, PJ Gallagher: Changing My Mind

by Aishling Conway
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Comedian PJ Gallagher turns mental health warrior in PJ Gallagher: Changing My Mind, a candid RTÉ documentary exploring mental health in Ireland with the humour and heart that define him.

Following a lifesaving stay at St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, PJ Gallagher embarks on a mission to sustain his mental health and long-term well-being, while facing the joys and challenges of welcoming twins. He powerfully admits that he very nearly “died of shame” – he was too embarrassed to talk about being depressed, to the point of becoming suicidal.

PJ Gallagher said: “When I started out doing comedy 25 years ago, the last thing I thought I would be doing was talking about mental illness. In fact, I was trying to do the exact opposite. But my mission now is to have a conversation and try to get other people to have their own discussions on mental illness, and to know the difference between mental illness and your day-to-day mental health. I’ve learned that there is no right or wrong way to talk about it. No one is going to tell you that just talking will make you better, but you have to start talking to find what will make you better. I hope this documentary might in some small way help people to do that.”

PJ Gallagher: Changing My Mind is a celebration of his progress and his commitment to extend that lifeline to those navigating their own mental health journeys, by partnering with advocacy groups and working to dismantle the stigma of facing mental health difficulties. That stigma can be life-threatening for men in particular – suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 25, and yet Pieta House says that 70% of its service users are female.

PJ talks to researchers and psychotherapists, as well as meeting men’s groups that create connection and space to talk about the issues they are facing. He investigates whether he has a diagnosis of ADHD, makes a fresh venture into mindfulness and talk therapy, and explores the potential of ground-breaking therapies like psilocybin, an emerging psychedelic treatment.

PJ Gallagher: Changing My Mind is a raw dive into Ireland’s fight for mental wellness, airing on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player on Monday 20th May at 9.35pm.  

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