safeTALK - Mental Fitness Case Study
|County: Belleek, Fermanagh|
|Codes: Football, Ladies Football, Hurling, Camogie|
Case Study: safeTALK
Following a high number of suicides in the Fermanagh area the Healthy Club Project Team at Erne Gaels contacted the Healthy Living Centre in Lisnaskea to coordinate a safeTALK training workshop in the club. SafeTALK, which stands for 'suicide alertness for everyone' is a training programme that helps people to identity those who may be having thoughts of suicide and teaches ways of helping those people by connecting them with suicide first aid resources. For further information click HERE
Within the club: Club Executive, Healthy Club Project Team, Club PRO, coaches, managers, parents and players
Outside the club: Healthy Living Centre in Lisnaskea, local media, members of the wider community, Fermanagh Health & Wellbeing Committee
The benefits of hosting SafeTALK is that the trained facilitators come to the club and deliver the intervention and all the appropriate resources. The club is NOT expected to be the expert in this area and is responsible for organising an appropriate venue, refreshments and recruiting people.
SafeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Participants openly engage and share experiences with each other and talk through some of the issues affecting them. It is facilitated by a trained staff member and support staff are also at hand during the session for anyone who feels they may require it. The club gave it huge publicity with invites sent out via social media, radio, word of mouth and press.
Raising awareness and being proactive about improving and maintaining mental fitness is important for the club. Through regular promotion they have created an environment that fosters resilience and positive wellbeing. Club members are empowered to take control of their health in a positive way. They signpost to local mental health services/groups/helplines etc. on the Healthy Club noticeboard and promote positive emotional wellbeing campaigns such as #Littlethings and 5 Ways to Wellbeing on their social media channels and on the club website.
How to host a Safe Talk within your GAA club?
- ROI - link up with the Health Service Executive (HSE) -see training directory HERE
- NI- contact the regional training co-ordinator for mental and emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention:
Helen Gibson: email@example.com Tel: 028 9536 3441
On the morning of safeTALK the Healthy Club Project Team were blown away by the interest shown. Thirty eight people showed up from every walk of life, including other club members, people from other localities with no previous GAA background plus club members, local councillors and the head of the Fermanagh Community Mental Health Team.
One participant from Co Tyrone remarked
"This is just amazing that a small rural club in the west has provided this opportunity to everyone, I've learned so much this morning in how to deal with and spot possibly someone with suicidal tendancies".
The club’s commitment to emotional wellbeing has been transformative and many parents have commended the club on their efforts. The club is very open about mental health and the Healthy Club team feel the initiative has reduced the stigma to some extent and people are now more open to discussing mental health. The club is firm in its role as the conduit to mental health services and acknowledges that the GAA is not a service provider but it does play a vital role in promoting positive mental health for its members.