ASK cam­paign posters now dis­played in pubs through­out Ire­land

Gorey Guardian - - NEWS - By MARIA PEP­PER

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.

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