Ryan Gallagher is a firefighter from Burlington in Canada. When he was just 16, Ryan’s father died as Ryan himself was performing CPR.
Ryan talks about how he never really 'coped' with what happened, just getting on with his teenage life, doing his usual things.
It was only when he was a little older, and started drinking, that he realised alcohol made him feel 'better,' and he started using it to avoid dealing with difficult feelings around his father's death.
Having used alcohol and food to prop himself up through several years, Ryan now has a wonderful attitude to his mental health, which he describes as getting out of his head and creating his own story.
He has the most wonderful, down-to-earth tips for anyone trying to cope with unhealthy habits. In his podcast Mental Edge Lifestyle he aims to show anyone struggling that "they're not as different as they think." That whatever you're going through, there's always someone going through the same, and that there is a way through it to a brighter part of your story.
I loved Ryan's honesty, his ownership of his problems, and his acceptance that he is the only person who can change the things he doesn’t like about his life. It takes work, and it takes time, but you have what it takes to do it.
I hope this episode helps even just one family to start to understand how to approach the emotional challenges that come with the death of a parent. I’d love to hear from you if it has, or if you have any suggestions for future topics on the Teenage Kicks podcast. Just email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can find me on Instagram and Twitter at @iamhelenwills. I appreciate every message, and love to hear from my listeners.
Where to get support with teen mental health concerns
Your GPThe MixYoung MindsGrief Encounter
Where to connect with Ryan
What next for the Teenage Kicks podcast?
We started this conversation with a great insight into what it takes to become a firefighter. I'm now thinking it would be fun to have some careers-based episodes on the podcast! What do you think? Let me know if that's something you'd like to see.
More teen mental health resources
There are lots more episodes of the Teenage Kicks podcast – do have a browse and see if I’ve covered anything else you might find useful. And if you have a suggestion of something you’d like to see talked about on the podcast please do email me on email@example.com I have loads more fabulous guests coming up to help families navigate some of the most complicated – but wonderful – teenage parenting years. I’ve also got some posts on the blog that might help parents with other teenage parenting dilemmas, so do pop over to Actually Mummy if you fancy a read.
Thank you so much for listening! Subscribe now to the Teenage Kicks podcast to hear all my new episodes. I'll be talking to some fabulous guests about difficult things that happened to them as teenagers - including losing a parent, becoming a young carer, and being hospitalised with mental health problems - and how they overcame things to move on with their lives.
I'd love it if you'd rate and review the podcast on iTunes too - it would really help other people to find it. You can also find more from me on parenting teenagers on my blog Actually Mummy, and on Instagram and Twitter @iamhelenwills.
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