Addressing awareness of mental health


Liam Cannon.

A STRABANE man who is recovering from the depths of drug dependency is set to present a concert aimed at promoting awareness of mental health and addiction.

Liam Cannon, who has struggled with drugs from a young age, will play host to rock band ‘Indecision’, singer songwriter Clara McHugh, Hughie Doherty and a special musical guest at the Alley Theatre on September 7.

Proceeds from the event, entitled ‘Aw That’s Mental’, will go to Strabane Access Youth Engagement (AYE) Project for the development of a mental health and addiction drop-in centre in Strabane.

According to Liam, the evening will also consist of some personal stories highlighting the plight of addiction.

“I started using drugs at a very early age, where I dabbled with alcohol and bought my first drug at the age of 12 in school,” he said. “From that point on it was something I relied on. Something had changed at that point and I only managed to stop using around two and half years ago. 

“I knew I needed to find help. People would ask me ‘why can’t you just stop?’, but it’s not that easy. I soon enrolled on a 12-step rehabilitation process and found the help I needed. Tackling this on my own would have been impossible.”

As a result of his own experiences with addiction Liam, now aged 30, contacted staff at the Alley Theatre expressing an interest in reaching out to people who have faced similar issues and from there the idea for ‘Aw That’s Mental’ was born.

“The idea for a concert came naturally,” Liam said.  “I feel events like this have a ripple effect for everyone around me. It will provide a laid-back environment for people to come along and have a bit of craic, whilst also raising awareness of the problems certain people are facing continually.” 
• ‘Aw That’s Mental’ will take place at the Alley Theatre on September 7 at the Alley Theatre. 

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