Blarney GAA have launched a 'Be Kind to Your Mind' campaign.
Blarney GAA have launched a 'Be Kind to Your Mind' campaign. 

Blarney GAA want you to 'Be Kind to Your Mind'

By John Harrington

Blarney GAA hope their ‘Be Kind to Your Mind’ positive mental health campaign will continue gathering momentum in the coming weeks.

Put together by the club’s always proactive Healthy Club Committee, the campaign seeks to help those who might be struggling with the considerable mental stresses and strains of life during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The ‘Be Kind to your Mind’ campaign began on March 24th when renowned psychologist, Dr. Sharon Lambert, joined Blarney club members online for one of their ‘Wednesday Night Chats’ where she talked about the various mental health support services that are available.

The club then produced ‘Be Kind to Your Mind’ posters and business cards that feature the contact details for 10 different support services – HSE Crisis Textline, Childline, Pieta House, HSE Drugs & Alcohol Helpline, Aware, Samaritans, Focus Ireland, Women’s Aid, Men’s Aid, and Simon Community.

“What we found was before Christmas when we could still meet up for running and stuff was that people really needed an outlet,” says Blarney Healthy Club officer, Martina McCarthy.

“We were noticing then as the restrictions were going on that people were retreating more into themselves and getting down.

“As the months were going people just seemed to be really struggling to snap out of it and we were getting concerned about that.

“I was coming across younger people that were really, really struggling and they didn't know where to turn to.

“So we wanted to get it out there that there are organisations like the Samaritans that you can get in touch with for help.

“The reason we went with the business cards was that we felt that if someone was struggling and they didn't want to talk about it with other people around them, then if you could just give them a card then they could have it and take it out when they needed it.

“That's what triggered the whole conversation at the start, how could we get the message out there that it's okay to talk. Everyone is struggling, both young and old. What we're going through isn't normal.

“We want people to go easy on themselves, be kind to themselves, and know that there is help out there.”

Blarney GAA Healthy Club Committee (from left) Martina McCarthy, Lisa Hedderman, Valerie Kirby, and Jim McEvoy. 
Blarney GAA Healthy Club Committee (from left) Martina McCarthy, Lisa Hedderman, Valerie Kirby, and Jim McEvoy. 

Blarney GAA’s ‘Be Kind to Your Mind’ has already gathered significant momentum in recent weeks and Hayes is hopeful it can be extended across Cork and beyond in the coming weeks.

“The secondary schools are back so we’ve given them the posters and cards," says McCarthy. "We’ve also given them to the Guards who think they are fantastic and will hand them out to people they believe could benefit from having those contact numbers.

“We're also going to Cork County Council to see if they could come on board, or maybe the HSE, to bring the campaign more to the forefront.

“We've gotten a great response from other clubs sending messages on Twitter supporting us, they all thought it was a really great thing to do and have passed it on to their players which is great.

“We've tried to get it out to as many people as we can. Hopefully we can get it to be a bigger campaign around the county.

“We just want to get it out there that people are struggling and we're all in the same boat. And it's okay not to be okay.”