THE first free "stress-control courses" to be held in GAA clubs get under way in Co Cork next week to help people tackle everything from financial pressure to work strains and family tensions.
"When stress gets a grip it can affect how we think and feel, what we do or don't do. It can affect our sleep and it can interfere with home life, work life, and our social lives," says HSE-South psychologist Dr Jennifer Hayes.
"This course is open to anybody who is currently experiencing stress or interested in learning how to manage stress better and therefore improve their quality of life.
"Participants won't be asked to talk about their problems or asked any personal questions. Each class will deal with a different topic and will include the causes of stress, skills to control your stress and anxiety, and solutions to sleep problems," Dr Hayes added.
"Classes are very easy to follow and participants are given booklets with explanations on how to control stress at the end of each class so that people can read them at home at their own pace."
Stress Control was designed by Jim White, a clinical psychologist based in Scotland. It has been running in the UK for many years and, more recently, it has been run by the HSE.
This is the first time that the course will be delivered on such a large scale in Ireland. It is also the first time that it will be delivered as a joint initiative with a major sporting organisation. Stress Control will be held on six consecutive Wednesday evenings, from January 29 to March 5 (inclusive) from 7.30pm to 9pm.
People who wish to attend can choose to do the course in the Midleton Park Hotel, Cork Road, or in Midleton or St Finbarr's GAA Club, Neenan Park, Togher, Cork.
To register, email your name and contact phone number to CorkBeatsStress@hse.ie or telephone 086 7871016.