North Dublin Befriending Service


News from Befrienders Dublin

Befrienders Dublin Mexican-themed BBQ, August 15, 2015

September 14th, 2015

bbq poster

Saturday, August 15th 2015 saw Befrienders Dublin throw its annual Barbeque. This year the theme was all things Mexican. Tacos & Fajitas were made by Wonder-chef Leanne, but there were also the usual BBQ staples of burgers & sausages. Vegetarians like this writer were provided with a choice of lovely salads. The music was by DJ Jason who soon had the well-fed crowd bopping like it was 2099!

As well as our members, we had some visitors from Inch House in Balbriggan and it was lovely talking with them.

Thanks to Leanne for the lovely food, Jason for the fab sounds and to all who helped make the Befrienders BBQ a great day out!


Click on the pictures for a bigger version.


Goirtin Art Exhibition

September 7th, 2015

goirtin art poster

‘Little Miracles’ Art Exhibition is a collaboration between two Dublin Mental Health service providers – HSE EVE Goirtin Centre, and H.O.P.S. Rehabcare.  EVE Goirtin is a HSE Hub programme which aims to support individuals in the community, based in Grangegorman, Dublin 7. H.O.P.S (Harrison’s Opportunities & Placement Service) is a Rehabcare community day service based in Dublin 2. The exhibition will run in Cabra Library from September 3rd to September 18th.

Befrienders Dublin Annual Holiday – Bundoran 2015

August 26th, 2015

In July 2015, Befrienders Dublin had their Annual Holiday in Bundoran. The weather was typically Irish (changeable), but we always had something to do. We took part in lots of interesting activities such as Horse-riding, Body-boarding and Sea-kayaking. We went to the cinema, to live music gigs and we also went on shopping outings to Sligo town. We had great fun splashing about on the many water slides in Waterworld Bundoran. On the last night we had a lovely meal in The Peak Restaurant with its beautiful panoramic sea views of Donegal Bay.

Thanks to Ann, Joseph & Tommy and many thanks to Georgina & all the Staff of Bundoran Holiday Centre.

Andrew’s Story

The day of the holiday which I had been looking forward to for so long had arrived. The train journey down to Bundoran passed in a background of lovely scenery and lovely chats with my companions. I was to be staying in a hostel which turned out to be more like a hotel.

When I arrived in the hostel which was a stone throw from the beach, our holiday facilitator Ann wrote down the list of activities we could choose to do on the holiday. There was a wide range of choices and I was especially looking forward to doing kayaking which I had not done since childhood.

The highlight for me was the horse riding, which passed through lovely scenery at a leisurely pace. My horse was called plodder (for a reason!), but the wind-swept long grass and sight of the beach really lifted my spirits after being so long in “the big smoke.”

The nights out in Bundoran were full of fun as we hit the pubs and clubs. The group had a good bond of friendship. The meals at the hotel were excellent. On our last day we went to a posh restaurant and I enjoyed my meal there as well as the beautiful view of the sea.

The holiday was a wonderful experience for me.  I would recommend going  on holiday with the befrienders group.

Andrew Gray

Click on the pictures for a bigger version.

Befrienders Dublin in the mini-marathon, June 2015

June 9th, 2015

IMAG0647 finish line

On Monday June 1st 2015,  Our Glorious Leader Ann & several of our members & volunteers took part in the annual women’s mini-marathon to raise funds for Befrienders Dublin. The weather was dreadful, the going was pretty tough, but in the end our brave runners crossed the finish line in (soggy) style. Thanks to our runners for taking part and thanks to everyone who donated. See you in 2016!

Click on the pictures for a bigger version.

Depression as a barrier to employment

June 2nd, 2015

‘The problem is not that the unemployed are ‘allergic to work’. The problem is that there are too few decent jobs are being created, forcing people into long-term unemployment or emigration. The problem is that there is no inclusive recovery – and no amount of Ministerial slurs can mask that fact.’ Jimmy Kelly UNITE union.

Michael Noonan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan recently slandered the unemployed as being ‘allergic to work’. This was also an insult to the many people who find it difficult finding/keeping work due to mental ill-health. A new study carried out by Lancaster University shed light on some of the work difficulties experienced by people with Depression. This is an extract:

 The relationship between symptoms of depression and elements of work

1. Getting to work

Problems sleeping, low mood, lack of motivation, lack of interest in activities may all make the initial task of getting up, getting dressed and then travelling to work extremely difficult. Even more so when combined with anxiety (as is commonly found), which may mean the individual has difficulty leaving the house or getting on public transport.

2. Doing the job

Symptoms can be a barrier to performing work tasks. Concentrating on tasks can be difficult for some people experiencing depression, with concentration and attention span sometimes affected. This may mean people find it difficult to focus on one task for a period of time or may have trouble even getting started. Where this is joined by low motivation and low enthusiasm the challenge is even greater. In addition, where anxiety is co-occurring, panic attacks in the workplace may be a further concern.

3. Working with people

Most jobs involve interaction, whether with colleagues or customers. In some cases symptoms of depression make it difficult to tolerate being with people or tolerate noise. There is a greater tendency to become irritable and often a lower tolerance to stress.


Often people experiencing these symptoms lose confidence in their ability to do their work, causing them to worry about failure and avoid certain tasks (or avoid work altogether). This worry might be so distracting as to affect work performance or self esteem might be affected to the extent that work is affected. This perception of failure can therefore become a self-fulfilling ‘negative cycle’. You would probably think they were doing their job quite well but they feel like they’re not and even if you say ‘no, no, you’re doing it fine’, it’s quite hard for them to accept and believe you.

5.Depression and job-seeking

Such cyclical negative thinking is also difficult for those who are not in work but are seeking work. Low self-worth and self-efficacy are often experienced by people with depression. Often people find themselves unable to imagine that someone would want to employ them – lowering their motivation to seek work even further and perhaps feeling a sense of hopelessness. There’s the sort of worthlessness and hopelessness part of depression and the drain on your own sort of self-esteem and morale.

6.Energy and motivation

Your energy is reduced, you’re tired, don’t feel like it, you think ‘how am I going to work if I can’t even get out of bed in a morning?’ To find a job requires a positive mind-set. This will be a considerable challenge for someone experiencing serious negative cognition. The very nature of the condition can be seen as a barrier for engaging in job seeking. So the whole selection and recruitment process is geared on people who have got a positive world view, a positive outlook who can project themselves well.


This piece by our raving, sorry roving reporter Mickle O’Lunacy was condensed & edited from this report by Karen Steadman and Tyna Taskila.

Diary Of A Depressionhead 3

April 29th, 2015

Since this blogpost was published, several people have complained that it is ‘too negative’. The author was also worried about its unremitting bleakness. So he/she has replaced his/her ‘depressing drivel’ with an image that expresses something similar.* The original post is available here.



Blog badge_gr* Alas, we were unable to identify the artist who made this wonderful image. If anyone knows the artist’s identity, please let us know.


The author of this piece wishes to remain anonymous. All views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Befrienders Dublin.


‘I have experienced a mental illness’ – excellent piece by Journalist Derek Masterson

March 30th, 2015

Derek Masterson

I have experienced a mental illness. It’s not something to boast about. It’s not something to wear like a badge of honour. But it’s certainly NOT something to be ashamed of. Even in these allegedly enlightened times, mental illness carries a stigma. Too often it’s regarded as a character defect, a weakness to be despised. Or the person is written off as a hopeless case, incapable of coherent thought or of leading a normal, useful life.

Well, forget the stereotypical picture of a dribbling idiot who should be banged up in a rubber-walled room in some dark, Victorian institution. I was a 50-year-old national newspaper journalist with more than 30 years’ experience, happily married with three healthy grown-up children and living in a very comfortable home in a West of Scotland seaside town when I became mentally ill. That’s not the typical profile of someone who experiences mental illness – because there is no typical profile. The simple fact is that mental illness can visit anyone. Government figures show that one in four people will experience mental illness at some time in their lives.

Who knows where, who knows when? And above all, who knows WHO? The first time I visited a psychiatrist, I told her: ‘I never thought of myself as the type of person this would happen to.’ She replied: ‘And what sort of person do you think it should happen to?’ My face was shut.

My problem was a depressive illness – I shan’t go into the causes. I visited all the dark places that most people don’t even realise exist. I contemplated suicide. But with the love and support of my family and close friends I survived and grew stronger. The proper medication and psychiatric and psychological treatment were vital for the next stage – the long climb back to feeling good again. The hardest thing was admitting to myself that I had a mental illness.

Telling others was out of the question. It was all about stigma – what other people would think of me. I suppose I was a victim of my own prejudice. Until that point, I had probably been as liable as anyone to pigeonhole and stereotype people as loonies or wimps who probably shouldn’t be in the job in the first place. So I lied. People I met while out walking found it odd that I wasn’t at work. Was I alright? Of course, I just had a few days off. But as time wore on, the lie became unsustainable. So I withdrew. I didn’t want to meet people. I didn’t want to have to admit I was ill. Mentally.

Prejudice is born of ignorance or fear of something we don’t understand. I doubt if anyone who hasn’t experienced mental illness can really understand it. The causes are many and varied. We all have our triggers which, when pulled hard enough or often enough, can cause mental devastation.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, GPs, nurses, social workers, counsellors and medication all have vital roles to play in helping those who experience mental illness to recover. But every one of us can make a contribution. The only qualifications required are concern, humanity and compassion. Do not judge others.

Don’t write off colleagues as lost causes just because they are going through a bad patch that you can’t understand. Offer support. A few kind words can be really helpful. I’m lucky. My friends and colleagues and the National Union of Journalists were wonderfully supportive throughout my 15-month ordeal. I no longer feel stigmatised.

Will you be as lucky? I just pray you don’t have to learn the lesson the hard way


Extract from the NUJ Mental health & suicide reporting guidelines available to download here.

Befrienders Beard-shaving Fundraiser – 11.03.15

March 18th, 2015

On Wednesday March 11th 2015, The Befrienders mob tramped down to Cleary’s pub in Amiens Street to watch our friends and colleagues Tommy and Joseph get shorn of their facial hair to raise funds for us.

Joseph was content to lose his beard, but on the night, Tommy decided to get his head-hair shaved off also. He was so unrecognisable afterwards that he could probably go on a bank-robbing spree and get away with it! Of course,Tommy would never do such a thing, as he is a law-abiding citizen.

We would like to thank Tommy and Joseph and everyone who donated. We’re still waiting for some sponsorship money, but at the last count, we had raised over €1,000!

Thanks also to Christine for doing the shaving and Ann and John Brien for the great pictures!


Tommy and Joseph shave beards off for Befrienders Dublin!

February 12th, 2015

Our friends and co-workers Tommy O’Flaherty and Joseph Dunne are having their beards shaved off to raise funds for Befrienders Dublin. As you can see, Tommy’s is a fine growth indeed. His poor old chin will feel mighty naked! Joseph’s bristles are not quite as luxurious but then, he hasn’t been growing them as long.

If you would like to donate please go our donations page here or fill in a sponsorship card in any of the clubs or in Befrienders Dublin office. Better still, go along to cheer Tommy & Joseph on (& donate) on the night!

Befriender’s Tommy  & Joseph will shave off their beards in aid of Befrienders Dublin in Clearys Pub, Amiens Street, Dublin 1, Wednesday 11th March at 8pm. ALL WELCOME!

Tommy the Viking before!


Joseph Before!

Joseph Before!

In Memory of Barbara Lary

February 10th, 2015


Barbara Lary passed away on the 1st of October, 2014. When making the funeral arrangements, Barbara’s family asked that instead of flowers, people would instead make a donation (if they wished) to Befrienders Dublin. The following people very kindly donated a total of €1,351 to Befrienders Dublin:

Lindy Bryant.
Selina Cohen.
Mary Denny.
Christiane Durassier.
Kerry & Theresa Ford.
Nick and Janine Fredericksz
Lesley Gould.
Maggy & Dave Holmes.
Odhran Kelly.
Peter Lary.
Charlotte Lary.
Nick, Pavel, Tanya, and Ann Lary.
Richard (Neil) Bowman & Carole Mahoney.
Di McDonald.
Paris O’Donnell.
Susan Roebuck.
‘Cousin Sue.’
Marina Lary Walker and Park Walker.
Carole Young.


“I have not known Barbara for that long but definitely long enough to count Barbara amongst my friends. Lovely people never really die for the ones who really appreciated them, they stay in your thoughts.” Christiane Durassier.


Befrienders Dublin would like to thank Barabra’s Family and friends for their kindness and to assure them that the money they donated will greatly help us to continue to provide a much-needed service to our members.