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Underneath the jersey, GAA players are normal people too


In 2017, the GAA partnered with ‘Real Talks’ to deliver a unique mental health workshop in 11 of our Healthy Clubs across Ulster as part of the GAA’s Healthy Club project. The workshop was open to senior and minor club players, from all GAA codes, as well as the wider community.

96% of participants agreed that GAA clubs can do more to help their players manage their mental health in a better way. We all need to get better at minding ourselves and looking out for those around us.

To help share these key learnings for others, Alan O’Mara, Real Talks founder and former Cavan goalkeeper, worked with Rory O'Connor (Rory’s Stories) to create a unique video (see above) to show that all of us have mental health and that every GAA club is a place where meaningful conversations can take place. 

Supporting each other

When a friend, teammate or family member is going through a difficult time, it can be hard to know what to say. Remember, you don’t have to be an expert to make a positive difference. Sometimes just asking the question ‘How are you doing?’ and stopping to listen can make a real difference.

As part of Men’s Health Week, running all this week, it is worth taking a minute to remember that underneath the jersey, all GAA players are normal people too. They experience the same challenges in life but can often experience additional pressures unique to sportspeople like criticism, injury, peer expectation, sideline negativity, social media, body image issues and more.

This week the GAA and Real Talks are encouraging men and boys to be that game changer in their club and ask the question “How are you doing?”

Learn more about the GAA’s Healthy Club project at gaa.ie/community.

List of Ulster clubs who participated in the GAA/Real Talks workshops:

 St Joseph’s, Glenavy  Antrim
 Michael Davitt  Derry
 An Caisleán Glas Naomh Pádraig  Tyrone
 Omagh St. Enda's  Tyrone
 Erne Gaels Belleek  Fermanagh
 Naomh Mochua Doire Nuis  Armagh
 St John’s Drummaquoile  Down
 Culloville Blues  Armagh
 St. Peter’s Warrenpoint  Down
 St Mary's Rasharkin  Antrim
 Cumann Chluain Daimh (Clonduff) GAA Club  Down

** Real Talks is a dynamic organisation that allows people to have real, open and meaningful conversations. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher to hear episodes with Dubin’s Kevin McManamon, Tipperary’s Brendan Maher and more or visit www.RealTalks.ie

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