VIDEO: GPA launches campaign on emotional health and wellbeing of players

Dublin hurler Conal Keaney in the campaign
Dublin hurler Conal Keaney in the campaign

The Gaelic Players Association has announced the launch of ‘We Wear More Than Our County Colours’, an internal campaign focussing on the emotional health and wellbeing of county players.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage and normalise conversations between players around more emotional aspects of their lives and to help them develop coping mechanisms during difficult times.

Featuring a short film highlighting the issues that can often lead to emotional reactions for players, the campaign is aimed at encouraging players to look out for each other, to recognise signs of distress and to encourage intervention through conversation and support.

Issues such as retirement, relationship break-ups, depression, stress, financial difficulties, addiction problems, performance and anxiety all feature in ‘We Wear More’.

The theme ‘We Wear More Thank 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.

Speaking about the campaign launch, GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell said: “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 focussed, internal approach would help encourage players to talk more openly to each other and to identify team-mates who may be in difficulty.”

The campaign features Michael Murphy of Donegal, Clare’s Podge Collins, Dubs hurler Conal Keaney and Richie Hogan of Kilkenny amongst others