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Black Dog Days

With a recent report showing that over 47 percent of Irish LGBTQI+ people live with depression, Chris O’Donnell speaks about societal attitudes to our community’s mental health as well as their own experience in accessing services.

Just before June, 2016, admitted myself to the Mater psychiatric ward because of a mood disorder that had been spiralling out of control.

I was the only out LGBTQI+ person on the ward: there were about 15 of us in total. It had a communal area, which was of no interest to anyone except Mick - a truck-driver who was trying to cut down on the smokes, and then there was the electric pulse of the psych ward- the smoking area, a tiny room with an odour of tobacco so dank it even got to me, a heavy smoker. It was nestled in the corner of the communal area, and practically all the patients - heavy smokers also would pile in first thing at ten in the morning when they opened the smoking room door after the medications had been doled out. listened to everybody’s story in that opaque room. Not long into my stay, was sitting in the smoking room alone, for once, lost in thought. Something must have given away the stifling depression was smiling my way through, since Mick, who kept himself to himself, came in and offered me a cigarette, lighting one up himself. Once he’d shared a bit about his depression, which was extreme and devastating, he asked me if knew anything about the ‘Black Dog’.

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About GCN

We’re closing our 30th anniversary celebrations with a bang, celebrating the year of the activist. With that in mind, we arranged for community leaders to speak to the next generation of trailblazers as both sides share their experiences. A Brazilian writer living in Ireland takes a look at his home country following the election of Bolsonaro, while Marty St Clair, one of the scientists behind the discovery of AZT, speaks about the beginnings of the battle against HIV and AIDS. Frank McDonald stops by to talk about his recently released memoirs. There’s an essential look at mental health in the queer community, and the people behind the awesome Dublin Lesbian Line tell us their plans for the future. You can also expect a roundup of a momentous year for LGBTQI+ folk and your community magazine. We couldn’t have done it without you, dear readers!