A new free wellbeing support text service has been launched by the Gaelic Players Association and Women’s Gaelic Players Association.
The service will provide another pathway for inter-county players who are in need of emergency support to reach out for help.
The service is completely anonymous and is available around the clock, seven days a week and 365 days of the year.
It will operate in addition to the GPA’s and the WGPA’s existing confidential counselling phone lines. Any player who requires additional support after reaching out to the text line will be signposted to those phone lines for further support.
88 GPA members availed of counselling support in 2019 while 21 WGPA members sought help.
“Supporting our members physical and mental wellbeing is a fundamental priority of the GPA and we are delighted to be able to offer this additional support to our members,” said Jennifer Rogers, Counselling Manager at the GPA.
“The aim is to provide another avenue for members to seek support in a way that works best for them.”
“We know that for some people talking to someone for the first time about what is going on for them can be difficult and some of our members have spoken publicly about ringing the counselling phone line and finding it difficult to speak so they have hung up.”
“This new innovative service should help overcome that barrier. No issue is too big or small, support is always available either over the phone or now through our text line.”
“The service provides our members with another option to seek support when they are in a time of crisis,” added WGPA Chair Maria Kinsella
“No player should feel they are on their own no matter the issue or situation they face.”
“I would encourage any player who is going through a difficult time to avail of this confidential and free service or call our confidential WGPA counselling helpline. You are not alone.”
Players in the Republic of Ireland can text GPA or WGPA to 50808 while players in the six counties should text GPA or WGPA to 85258 to receive support from experienced, trained volunteers in the area of mental health.
The free text service is provided by 50808 in the Republic of Ireland (www.text50808.ie) and by Shout 85258 in Northern Ireland (www.giveusashout.org).