It’s not just the bigger counties like Dublin that can make a difference by giving over their shirt front and we are delighted to see that Westmeath GAA, together with sponsors Renault, are doing just that this weekend.
The county footballers will carry a special message on their jerseys this Sunday for the Allianz League Division 2 clash against Armagh in Mullingar.
“Together for Mental Health” is an initiative involving Pieta House, Athlone and Good2Talk, Mullingar, and supported by the county’s main sponsors, Renault Ireland, through local dealership O’Brien’s Renault.
Pieta House provides a free, therapeutic approach to people who are in suicidal distress, those who engage in self-harm and those bereaved by suicide.
Good2Talk offers a counselling and support service for those who present with a range of issues including depression, grief, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal ideation.
“We are delighted to partner with Pieta House and Good2Talk for this special day in TEG Cusack Park,” said Westmeath GAA Chair Billy Foley.
“We know our patrons will support the initiative and hope that through it at least one person will acknowledge and seek support for their mental health.”
“We are extremely grateful to Westmeath GAA, the players, captains and fans for their kind and generous support of Pieta House through this initiative, Together For Mental Health,” added Elaine Austin of Pieta House.
“With the support of the local community, we have been able to help over 600 people in crisis over the past three years from our Athlone centre. The funds received from matchday collections will go a long way to helping us provide our nationwide services in 2020.”
The sentiment was echoed by CEO of Good2Talk, Kathleen Poynton who added: “We wish to thank Westmeath GAA and Renault Ireland for offering us this opportunity to highlight our services.”
Sport has the ability to help people through crises by providing a focus for them to engage in social activity and leaving their problems behind. It also serves as a powerful conduit to reach out to people who might be supporters but not involved at the heart of a club.
When the sport and the sponsor combine like this, just as AIG did with Dublin GAA and Bank of Ireland have done with each of the Rugby provinces in recent years, it can have a real breakthrough effect.
Even if that only touches one person it will have been worthwhile and as an added bonus it helps to focus attention on the sponsor in a way that would not otherwise have captured the attention in quite the same fashion.
A real win-win.