ASK campaign posters now displayed in pubs throughout Ireland
THE ASK mental health awareness campaign started by former Mayor of Wexford Frank Staples has gone nationwide thanks to the support of the Vintners Federation of Ireland which has distributed 4,500 of the organisaton’s posters for display in pubs throughout Ireland.
The posters which encourage people experiencing mental health difficulties to take off their masks and ask for help while advising others to be mindful of those around them and to ask ‘Are you okay’, can now be seen in licensed premises around the country, reaching a wide audience nationally.
Wexford GAA stars Lee Chin and Diarmuid O’Keeffe also lent their support, posing in a promotional photograph with Cllr. Staples and Wexford vintner Johnny Gaynor which appeared in a recent edition of the VFI magazine Voice alongside a two-page article about the ASK campaign in which the founder spoke about his own experiences of bi-polar disorder and the inspiration for getting the campaign got off the ground last March. The campaign is also highlighed on the VFI website.
Recalling the reaction of people to his decision to speak publicly about his own mental health, the Fine Gael councillor wrote: ‘I found that some people were shocked while others were fascinated that I could speak so open and wanted to hear my stories. Somebody even said to me :’If the Mayor of Wexford can speak about his depression surely others can too’.
Welcoming the support of the Vintners organisation, Cllr. Staples said: ‘It’s great for us that we are getting the message out there. In a sense, you could say the ASK campaign is expanding nationally. We were also delighted with the support of Diarmuid O’Keeffe and Lee Chin.’
The spark for the VFI’s involvement came from Wexford publican and VFI officer John Gaynor who put the ASK campaign in contact with the federation’s Cmmunications Manager Brian Foley.
‘They were keen to do something in the area of mental health and the ASK campaign suited their brief ’, said Cllr. Staples.
The ASK founder said the campaign has received huge support since it launched in Wexford less than a year ago and is currently considering the possibility of applying for charity status.
Diarmuid O’Keeffe and Lee Chin with Johnny Gaynor of Wexford Vintners and ASK campaign founder Frank Staples.