Mental health with Rory’s Stories

Irish internet personality Rory O’ Connor told a TU Dublin webinar why he works so hard to fight against addiction and promote suicide prevention.

Rory O’ Connor, author of the bestselling book Rory’s Story, delivered a webinar this week to TU Dublin students earlier this week. It was aimed at tackling the stigmas surrounding addiction and mental health. 

Known as Rory’s Stories on social media, O’Connor is a prominent advocate for mental health in Ireland. He also serves as a brand ambassador for the Construction Industry Federation. 

During his talk, he shared details about his own struggles and experiences to raise awareness for suicide prevention and addiction.

“The next day I went into Dublin and spent all day at the bookies and pubs, running away from my problems.” 

-Rory O’ Connor

“When I was a young boy my cousin took his own life completely out of the blue. He had everything going for him on the outside but obviously he didn’t feel that internally,” O’Connor said.

Situations like that are why talking about suicide prevention and mental health is “so important”, he said.

O’Connor recalled a time in 2013 when, he said, he himself hit “rock bottom”.

“The club I adored playing for was knocked out of the championship. The next day I went into Dublin and spent all day at the bookies and pubs, running away from my problems. 

“I put my last €200 on a roulette table in a casino and lost it in minutes. I should have really said to my friends I was going to go off gambling, but that’s the thing with addiction, you never want to admit it,” he said.

Since then, O’Connor has built a career doing what he loves, producing comic skits and performing stand-up routines, while doing more to improve his own mental health and that of others. 

Photo Courtesy of Rory’s Stories on Facebook

O’Connor’s inspiration came from Gerry Cooney, an addiction counsellor in the Rutland Centre. “He told me how my addictive personality could be used on a positive platform, just like some of the most successful people in the world.”

O’Connor made a Facebook page entitled ‘Rory’s Stories’ in 2014. That’s where he started to do sketches based on aspects of the GAA. “These started to go viral very quickly. That’s how Rory’s Stories came into being.”

O’Connor said he couldn’t “emphasise enough how important exercise is for your mental health, along with talking about the good and bad days.”

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