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Gail Walker interview: Single parents not stigmatised so much these days, says mental health champion Siobhan O’Neill

Stormont’s new mental health champion Siobhan O’Neill on the joy of becoming a mum in her early 40s, the challenges in tackling our suicide crisis, and the benefits of growing up on a farm

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Outstanding in her field: Northern Ireland’s new Mental Health Champion Professor Siobhan O’Neill at her Dungiven home

Outstanding in her field: Northern Ireland’s new Mental Health Champion Professor Siobhan O’Neill at her Dungiven home

Stephen Hamilton

Outstanding in her field: Northern Ireland’s new Mental Health Champion Professor Siobhan O’Neill at her Dungiven home

Professor Siobhan O'Neill is reflecting on her decision to become a single parent by choice. Divorced, in her early 40s and with a fierce yearning for a child, she chose to have a baby via IVF with the help of a clinic in Spain.

"It was really tough because it didn't happen first time," she says. "There were loads of trips to Spain and loads of failed cycles. It was very difficult, very expensive and a huge risk. It took me well over a year before I ended up pregnant."


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