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Fitness & Health

29th May 2014

Gallery: The 14 intercounty players taking part in the GPA’s powerful emotional health and well-being campaign

The Gaelic Players Association has launched an internal campaign to promote the well-being of county players...

Joe Harrington

The Gaelic Players Association has launched an internal campaign to promote the well-being of county players…

‘We Wear More Than Our County Colours’ is a GPA led campaign, that aims encourage and normalise conversations between players around the more emotional aspects of their lives.

The campaign is hoping to break down to the stigma surrounding mental health which will in-turn make it easier for players to look out for each other, to recognise signs of distress and to encourage intervention through conversation and support.

The campaign features 14 county players from all over the country as well as the personal stories of Alan O’Mara, Conor Cusack and Niall McNamee.

The campaign has an accompanying video which highlights the type of emotional stresses a player can feel.

The theme ‘We Wear More Than our County Colours’ – refers to the fact that behind the often high profile public persona of a county player, the individual wears more than the jersey and is frequently vulnerable to emotional distress.

GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell says “The GPA has a long-standing commitment to promoting good mental health both internally within our membership and in society in general.”

“Our nationwide personal coaching programme, our counselling programme and confidential members help line continue to provide critical support for players.”

“However, we felt that it was important at this juncture to focus on a campaign tailored specifically for county players, identifying the various issues that can trigger strong emotional reactions for these young men. We are acutely conscious of the vulnerability of this particular demographic in terms of suicide and believe that a focused, internal approach would help encourage players to talk more openly to each other and to identify team-mates who may be in difficulty”.

GPA picture

The GPA believes that the campaign can have a positive impact on communities all over Ireland, encouraging young people in clubs, schools, colleges and in wider society to talk about their problems.

The players involved in the campaign: Michael Murphy (Donegal), Padraig Brehony (Galway), Seamus Hennessy (Tipperary), Alan O’Mara (Cavan), Padraig Collins (Clare), Conal Keaney (Dublin), Richie Hogan (Kilkenny), Colm Begley (Laois), Eoin Cadogan (Cork), Rob Hennelly (Mayo), Jonny Cooper (Dublin), Ciaran McKeever (Armagh), Lee Chin (Wexford), Niall McNamee (Offaly).

Check out more on the website –

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