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Gaelic players get behind men's suicide awareness campaign

GAA stars Eoin Cadogan, Séamus Hennessy and Darran O’Sullivan have backed the Mind Our Men mental health initiative.

Eoin Cadogan, Darran O’Sullivan and  Séamus Hennessy.
Eoin Cadogan, Darran O’Sullivan and Séamus Hennessy.
Image: Sportsfile

GAA STARS EOIN CADOGAN, Séamus Hennessy and Darran O’Sullivan have come together to back a new initiative that aims to reduce male suicide in Ireland.

The trio joined Joan Freeman, chief executive of Pieta House, to announce details of the partnership between the suicide crisis charity and the Gaelic Players Association.

In March, Mind Our Men was launched by Pieta House in light of recent figures, which show that 10 people die by suicide in Ireland every week, 8 of whom are men. The campaign is a multi-platform training and education campaign that aims to equip the public with the skills needed to reach out to the men in their lives during times of crisis. Hennessy said:

I have a personal connection with suicide as my mother died by suicide 11 years ago. As a result, I’m very committed to helping reduce the impact of suicide on families throughout Ireland.”

“Male suicide has become all to prevalent in Ireland,” the Tipperary hurler added.

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“We’re delighted to be working with Pieta House on this vital campaign” said GPA chief Dessie Farrell. “Given the demographic we represent,” he commented, “and our commitment to the promotion of mental health, we’re very keen to create awareness amongst our players on the signs and symptoms of someone who is in distress so that they can look out for each other and feel comfortable enough to talk more openly.”

Since its establishment in 2006, Pieta House has helped over 8,000 people. It now has six centres, four in Dublin, one in Limerick and one in Roscrea, and is due to open centres in Cork, Kerry, and Galway by the end of the year.

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“It’s great to have the GPA on board for the Mind Our Men campaign as we need to especially target male-dominated groups,” said Joan Freeman, CEO of Pieta House.

This campaign is not only about highlighting the symptoms of suicidal thoughts, but also aims to change behaviour, particularly amongst men, in regard to how they communicate when in crisis.”

Through the Mind Our Men website, the public are being asked to pledge their support for this campaign where they will be provided with a support pack on suicide prevention and a list of nationwide services and resources. Other organisations involved in the Mind Our Men campaign include the Garda Síochána and Scouting Ireland.

For more information on Pieta House, visit www.pieta.ie.

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