Representatives of Donegal Youth Council, Donegal GAA Health and Well-being Committee, Donegal Youth Services, Donegal County Council and HSE staff, and clubs and colleges at the campaign launch.
The Donegal GAA Health and Well-being Committee and Donegal Youth Council have teamed up for a mental health awareness campaign to promote the “4Ls”.
“It’s about the simple things we can do to make a difference,” Kevin Mills, chairperson of the GAA Health and Well-being Committee, told the campaign launch last Thursday at the Station House Hotel in Letterkenny.
The campaign was part of events to mark International World Mental Health Day on October 10th. Launch organisers said, “All too often in this busy and hectic world we tend to overlook the simple things that can make a difference to minding our mental health.”
Here are the 4Ls: Listen for family, friends, neighbours and be available to them in time of need; Look out for each other – the young or the elderly, people who are vulnerable, those who are being bullied or who might be sad; Laughter, laugh at ourselves or with others, a smile can warm someone’s day; and Link up – make that connection, phone call, text, email, card, or even better, a visit.
”We’re here to give whatever support we can to the programme,” Sean Dunnion, Donegal GAA chairperson, told the launch. He said Donegal GAA’s Health and Well-being Committee, now in its fourth year, always plays a big part in the county GAA action plan.
Mental health “is always central to everything we do,” Mr. Dunnion said.
The campaign message will be spread through Donegal schools by the 32 members of the Donegal Youth Council, and extended to clubs across the GAA.
”We will build this very much into what we offer clubs,” Mr. Mills said.
Kai McHugh a Donegal Youth Service representative on the youth council, said he will would be giving presentations on Monday at Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny, Royal and Prior in Raphoe and St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar.
A student at St. Eunan’s College in Letterkenny, Kai has already delivered presentations to 20 classes, about 400 students, there. He said after the presentations he heard from a few students who said they understood mental health issues better as a result.
“The stigma needs to be removed,” Kai said.
Speakers at the launch included a number of youth councillors and Donegal senior men’s footballer Michael Carroll. Donegal senior women’s footballer Karen Guthrie also attended the launch.
Mr. Mills thanked Mr. Dunnion for driving the mental health agenda in the GAA. “This isn’t a one-off thing,” Mr. Mills said. “The whole issue of mental health is a lifelong issue.”