Jim McGuinness in suicide awareness video

Donegal football manager Jim McGuinness has lent his support to a mental health campaign urging students to share their worries.

Donegal football manager Jim McGuinness has lent his support to a mental health campaign urging students to share their worries.

McGuinness appears alongside rugby stars Alan Quinlan and John Muldoon, Galway football captain Finian Hanley and Mayo corner-back Kevin Keane in a video which asks “Who would you tell?” if you were depressed or suicidal.

The video was produced by Stephen Doak (Creeslough, Donegal), David Mackin (Dundalk) and Stephen Sullivan (Coole, Westmeath) as part of their final year project in the BSc in Public Health and Health Promotion at Sligo IT. It was launched yesterday at Sligo IT by Armagh GAA player Oisin McConville.

Given that Ireland has one of the highest rates of suicide amongst young males in Europe, the students focused their message at this group and sought out some of Ireland’s top sporting starts to encourage those at risk to talk to someone close to them.

If he was feeling suicidal, Donegal GAA Team Manager Jim McGuinness says he would tell “a family member or a friend”.

He encourages people to speak out about their problems. “My own community has been devastated by it in the last number of years, old and young,” he says. “It’s something that just stops you in your tracks. You wish that you could do something, or that you could have known or helped but the reality is sometimes you don’t and that’s why it’s so important that if you’re any way down or carrying anything, or if you feel depressed, to try to seek people out. Don’t carry it yourself, try and move forward with the help and support of other people. That’s the key thing,” he said.

Mental Health Promotion/Suicide Resource Officer with HSE West Mike Rainsford, is also quoted on the video. “There is an invisible barrier associated with suicide,” he said. “Those feeling suicidal don’t want to burden people by talking about it and their friends and family don’t know how to raise it with them. The only way we can help is to communicate to each other, to our friends or with support services. A problem shared really is a problem halved, so the very simple message about communication underpinning this video is very important.”

Those who are affected by suicide or suicidal thoughts should contact their GP. Other sources of support also include the Samaritans 1850 609090, 1Life 1800 24 7 100 and Stop suicide 1850 211 877.

You can watch the video at http://www.youtube.com/user/ITSLIGOSU.