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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 17 July, 2019
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'Eventually you start talking, like a gas valve releasing': Jack McGrath on his brother's suicide

McGrath and Hannah Tyrrell are ambassadors for IRUPA’s Tackle Your Feelings initiative.


Source: Irish Rugby Players/Vimeo

JACK MCGRATH HAS spoken about the problems he faced following his brother’s death by suicide as part of a new mental health campaign.

McGrath’s brother died in 2010, and the Leinster and Ireland prop struggled with his own emotions in the years following the tragedy.

As an ambassador for the Tackle Your Feelings initiative, launched today by IRUPA and Zurich, he is encouraging people to be proactive in taking care of their mental wellbeing.

“I always felt that keeping my emotions in was the way to deal with it,” he said.

When you’ve got this knot in your stomach, you’re struggling to get up in the morning. Eventually you start talking and it’s nearly like a gas valve releasing.

“It was very tough because we were very close, myself and my brother. We’d always stand in the same spot so when I’d run out (onto the pitch), I’d always have a look over.

“It can be from the smallest thing you say to someone can make you feel better. The longer you keep it bottled up, the worse it’s going to get.”

McGrath was among the first players to speak about their personal experience as part of the three-year, all-island campaign which is aimed at encouraging a proactive approach to better mental heath.

“As soon as I reached out, I realised that my friends and family were there for me,” said Ireland women’s international Hannah Tyrrell, who spoke about her own battles with self-harm and bulimia.

“It didn’t happen overnight, it happened over a long period of time, but I began to love myself.”


Source: Irish Rugby Players/Vimeo

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Console 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie - (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

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Niall Kelly

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