1% Better S2,

Jim Breen on Cycle Against Suicide, Mental Health in the Workplace & Knowing it’s OK to ask for Help! EP059

May 03, 2018

Mental Health, Depression, Suicide Awareness, Asking for Help and knowing that it’s Ok not to feel Ok are at the centre of this week’s podcast conversation with founder of Cycle Against Suicide Jim Breen.


Jim Breen is the Founder and Chairman of PulseLearning (www.PulseLearning.com) and Chairman of Becloudsmart (www.Becloudsmart.com).  Jim is also a Director at Cork BIC (www.Corkbic.com) and an Advisor to The Wheel (www.Wheel.ie).

He came to public attention in 2012 when he appeared on the TV Show Secret Millionaire. It was during his appearance on this show, while spending time working with a suicide awareness group in Dublin, that he hit a breaking point. Witnessing first-hand the destructive nature that depression and mental illness could bring during the show, he faced a tipping point of his own. One that he had to face head on.

As you’ll hear from my conversation with Jim, he’s been through a lot in the last 6 years. During this period, he’s been on his own immense journey, not only working through his own depression and mental health challenges, but also helping raise the awareness of the challenges others face that far too often goes unspoken. One very notable outcome of this is the charity cycle against suicide that Jim helped set up in 2013 on the back of his appearance on the show.

This is without doubt one of the most engaging and real conversations I’ve done so far in the two seasons. I’d highly recommend you give it a listen.

Areas covered during the show include:

  • How Depression, Anxiety, and Self-Harm are not sexist, racist, or have any other bias, they can attack anyone
  • Opening up about Jim’s own battle with Mental Health on this TV show
  • Knowing by talking about it, he would do something about it for himself.
  • Overwhelmed by the response from the public asking ‘how ‘can we help’
  • The Catalyst for Cycle against Suicide in April 2013
  • Progress made in Ireland in the last 6 years with Mental Health
  • 50% of those that die from suicide had never asked for help.
  • Asking for help is a predictor of saving lives. This is the battle!!! 50% never asked!
  • The ‘I Am Here’ program launched in Australia on mental wellbeing in the workplace. Focusing on three steps.
    • Show you care!
    • Ask the question!
    • Call for help!
  • Mental Health in the workplace still highly stigmatized and is the last bastion of stigma! Telling your boss hasn’t been yet addressed!
  • Having an entrepreneurial mindset that helped deal with depression and the challenges
  • Discuss how Ireland and other developed countries are approaching mental health
  • Cycle Against Suicide success and the community element
  • The Wheel – the CEO Deidre Garvey – Spark Change – Change Agents
  • Three Truths on Therapy:
    • Skillset
    • Readiness
    • Chemistry!
  • Experiences with different therapists and progress made
  • Having a stronger resilience now than ever before
  • Instances of depression happen less often and, when they do, last much shortr
  • Key ingredients to being healthy – therapy, meditation, exercise, food, sleep, and little or no Alcohol
  • Doing v Being
  • No Regrets
  • Setting up PulseLearning at 29 – working more, sleeping less, pushing hard, it’s not the smartest way at all!
  • Now, with BeCloudSmart, spending 80% of the time coaching and 20% doing!
  • Being human -making mistakes in life and business that hurt now more than in the past!
  • Figure out what the lesson is, figure it out and how to do better next time round
  • The reasoning being the Cycle Against Suicide Concept and the deliberate thinking around this.
  • Observing, not reacting

 1% Better Tips:

  • Switching the mindset from I GET to rather than I HAVE to!!
  • Approach with Food:
    • The closer it is to the ground, the better!
    • Deliberately eat things that are not close to the ground some days!
    • Diminishing returns going clean completely all the time!
  • Experience with Depression:
    • It will pass! It comes and it goes. It will Pass! The feeling that you have right now, will pass. It comes and it passes. Knowing it will pass!
  • Meditation – Trying different approaches and using Insight Timer (App)
  • Advice
    • Take advice from people who have been on the journey rather than those that have not!
    • For every piece of advice, there is an opposite piece of advice – try and find counter truths – try to hold these close as you’re deciding what makes sense for you!
    • Try to get advice that is not the advice of the majority!
  • Success
    • This is all about being grateful to be able to take part in many things.
    • The journey Jim is on right now, he is getting a lot of purpose from this. He can apply these in the Wheel, or in other areas, he can help others.
    • Working on the wheel, the I Am Here campaign and working with schools


  • The Book Switch was discussed in this week’s show – you can purchase it on the book page here!

More about Jim:

Jim’s career to date has been one of growth and purpose. After graduating with a degree in Engineering from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 1991, he successfully held senior management positions with the KOSTAL Group and Kleinhuis.  In 2007, he was shortlisted for the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and his company, PulseLearning, won the Deloitte Fast 50 Award for the fastest growing IT company on the island of Ireland.  He graduated from the Executive Development program at Stanford University, California.

A lover of sport, Jim is aformer international rower and winner of the British and Irish Senior Intervarsity’s boxing championship.  Nowadays, Jim runs, rows, swims, cycles and has completed a number of major marathons and an ironman.

Jim had the privilege of taking part in “The Secret Millionaire” television programme in 2012 (https://vimeo.com/61333005?ref=em-v-share).  One of the projects that he visited was a Suicide Awareness group in Dublin which sparked his interest in mental health issues. As a result of this experience, hespearheaded the “Cycle Against Suicide” initiative (www.CycleAgainstSuicide.com). 

Just a quick note to say thanks for listening. There are a lot of podcasts to choose from and you picking this one means a lot to me. I know that sounds like a cheese-ball thing to say, but it’s true! I’m enjoying creating these shows, learning from them and I’m hoping that you are too.

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