A DAD-OF-TWO has launched a Christmas campaign on social media to encourage people to take mental health seriously after seven men committed suicide in Co. Meath over the past fornight.
Gary Costello, from Kilmessan in the eastern county, felt compelled to do something after becoming concerned for the future of his own boys, aged one and three, in the wake of the deaths.
In less than two weeks, seven men took their own lives in areas including Athboy, Duleek, Kells, Kildalkey and Trim.
He told the Irish Mirror: "Unfortunately, there were seven suicides within ten days in the county of men of all ages. Many I knew, some I knew of but all left families, friends and communities broken.
"After attending the second funeral, I looked at my two young boys and, as a father, really felt I had to do something.
"All these men had fathers and mothers too who loved them dearly, and I can't speak for any of the families affected, but I just wanted to do something to try and make a difference and to spread a message far and wide that it's ok not to be ok."
Mr Costello, who runs a Centra store in his village, is posting messages urging people to know it's okay to suffer from mental health issues and that everyone is loved by family and friends at his shop.
He will also be uploading a video each evening on his Facebook until Christmas Eve asking for people to share the message "it's ok not to feel ok."
The store will further share various charity helpline numbers for people to contact if they're feeling down.
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