Today, Saturday 10th October, is World Mental Health Day, and this year more than ever we are acutely aware of the need to look after our mental health.
2020 has been a year like no other, with the threat of Coronavirus playing havoc with our normal routines. Lockdown has been difficult for many, added with the worry of contracting the virus ourselves, or transmitting it to our loved ones. Many families have been bereaved.
Those who have been shielding for many months will have found it particularly difficult. There are also the worries of job losses, struggling businesses and reduced ability to earn which is affecting many, particularly families.
Throughout all of this, we have become more aware of the importance of looking after our mental health. While hand-washing, social distancing and mask-wearing are asked of us to maintain our physical health and reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are reminded that the Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing are hugely important for our emotional wellbeing.
A COVID Wellbeing website has been developed which houses excellent information about looking after our mental health generally, but also includes specific expertise on doing so through the pandemic. More information can be found at https://covidwellbeingni.info/. Information specific to Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal can be found on the HSE Your Metal Health website https://www2.hse.ie/mental-health/.
To mark World Mental Health Day today, Healthy Club Officers are encouraged to visit the website relevant to them and share content which they feel might benefit their club members. There are many supports available and some excellent information has been developed, so we are all encouraged to make use of it.
Samaritans continue to play a vital role, partnering with the GAA as their national mental health partner. Samaritans are open for business and are only too glad to receive calls and emails. If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know you can contact Samaritans 24/7 for free on 116 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are concerned for someone’s immediate safety, call 999 or Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.
“Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine,” is an Irish saying that translates literally as “People live in each other’s shadows.” Meaning, we live in the shelter of others. No man is an island. In a world that has changed so much in the past number of months it is more evident than ever how much our actions can affect others.
The GAA has played an invaluable role in supporting the wider community during the pandemic, often forming connections with other groups within the community. Clubs are encouraged to nurture and maintain these connections so that long after COVID-19 has passed these connections are still being used to improve the wellbeing of everyone within our communities.
There will be many legacies resulting from this pandemic, but the onus is on us as individuals and GAA people to ensure that we leave a legacy of friendship and hope.
For more information, visit https://ulster.gaa.ie/covid-19/wellbeing/.