Denis was a graduate of the UCD Engineering Class of ‘92. He was actively planning the 30-year reunion when his life was suddenly cut short on August 20th this year. Denis was an advocate for promoting mental health awareness and, with the support of his family, we would like to share his journey.
Denis was grateful for the opportunity to study at UCD, for the people he met, and the friendships he made. It was during his final year that he started to experience episodes of anxiety, but as mental health was not openly talked about back then, he just ‘ploughed through’ on his own.
Although Denis graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, his love for all things technology drew him into the IT industry. It was just as his career was really taking off that he experienced his first ‘elated’ episode. Shortly after this he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental health condition that affects one’s mood, thoughts and behaviour.
Managing bipolar was not easy for Denis, but with the support of his family and friends, and access to the right resources he continued to lead a very full life. He became an active member and chairperson of local mental health support communities, was a guest speaker on local radio and participated in mental health conferences throughout Ireland. Denis also orchestrated the production and launch of his Dad’s CD ‘The Auld Times’ to raise much needed funds for critical mental health services.
Denis was tall in stature and had a hearty laugh that could fill any room, but he will be remembered most for being a kind and generous person who helped and supported so many people. He genuinely cared for others. He was a gentle giant.
One of Denis’s favourite quotes was ‘Wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit’ (Bill Hicks); so no doubt Denis will still be amongst his friends at the reunion of the Engineering Class of ’92.