As a leading national sporting and community organisation, the GAA recognises that it can play a real and important role in supporting the emotional wellbeing of our members and communities.
We can do this by:
- Creating a culture and providing activities that support healthy bodies, healthy minds, and healthy clubs
- Helping end the stigma that prevents many people from accessing the help they so badly need when in times of distress
- Developing resources and tools that help our members better understand the building blocks of positive mental and emotional health
- Develop partnerships with organisations and charities such as the HSE, the PHA, Samaritans and Pieta House that we can signpost and direct our members towards in times of need
GAA Mental Health charter
The GAA’s Mental Health charter is a policy document that helps clubs develop a culture that supports and promotes emotional wellbeing. The resource is designed to reinforce the GAA’s GIVE RESPECT GET RESPECT initiative’s positive message and transfer it into the world of mental wellbeing. Available to download above, it outlines a club culture that is inclusive and open and one that holds dear the following values. Make sure your club adopts the charter today – just download the pack from the tab above and contact the Community & Health team (email@example.com) for supporting posters to highlight your good work.
Mental Fitness packs
The GAA’s ‘Play in my Boots’ packs aim to de-stigmatise mental health by speaking to players in a sporting language familiar to them. Using the term ‘mental fitness’ to emphasise the positive nature of our emotional wellbeing, the packs also aim to remind the GAA population that maintaining mental fitness requires work and skill development in the same way as maintaining our physical fitness does.
These packs, developed in consultation with St. Patrick’s Foundation, Dublin, are designed especially for players from 12+ and coaches and contain useful information which can help us all work through the stresses we all experience, or maybe help someone else work through theirs. Download an e-version of the pack above or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order up to 30 hard copies free of charge.
The GAA and Samaritans have come together to offer greater emotional support for people who are struggling to cope across the 32 counties.
The announcement in April was the first of a series of initiatives undertaken by the GAA in 2014 to make sure its members have access to emotional support in these challenging times. For Samaritans, working with the country’s largest sporting and community organisation offers the opportunity to extend its important work even further across the country and into every parish on the island of Ireland.
The partnership aims to encourage people who are going through a difficult time to seek help, while also tackling the stigma associated with mental health problems. In doing so, both organisations hope that people will access the round the clock support provided by Samaritans.
While Samaritans’ vision remains that fewer people should die by suicide, the charity’s callers do not need to be suicidal to pick up the phone. People contact the helpline about everything from depression, relationship and family issues to loneliness, physical and mental health issues, abuse, financial worries and much more.