GAA players urged: 'Mind Ur Buddy'

John Manning

Published 04/06/2013 | 05:32

THANKS to the work of a Fingal Ravens man, the GAA are getting behind a Pieta House campaign to combat the scourge of suicide among young men.

THANKS to the work of a Fingal Ravens man, the GAA are getting behind a Pieta House campaign to combat the scourge of suicide among young men.

Fingal Ravens clubman, David Mitchell lost his own father to suicide in 2009 and was compelled to do something about the issue in the wake of that personal tragedy.

He applied for funding to the Vodafone Foundation World of Difference Programme which allowed him to work for a year developing a 'Mind Ur (sic) Buddy' campaign which is allied to the Pieta House 'Mind Our Men' initiative and will now be rolled out to clubs across the country, starting in Dublin.

Dublin GAA are first to jump on board the Fingal Ravens man's campaign which is being fronted by Dubs legend and Swords man, Paul Flynn who is a huge supporter of Pieta House and campaigner against suicide.

'The GAA has an unrivalled network, with clubs in every part of the country, from the larger urban areas to the isolated rural countryside,' said Mr. Mitchell.

'Getting the biggest county of all in terms of participation numbers on board is a fantastic boost to the Mind Our Men campaign.

'Dublin GAA is giving a great example to every other county and we hope that their support will encourage clubs here and, indeed, other counties to get on board.

'Vodafone's World of Difference programme is giving me the opportunity to work for a full year on launching Mind Ur Buddy into as many clubs as possible and getting Dublin County Board behind it is a huge breakthrough.'

The Fingal Ravens man said: 'Our ultimate aim is to have Mind Ur Buddy trainees in every club in the country. Think of the reach that will give us and the difference it will make if we have men and women in each club trained to spot the signs if someone is suicidal.'

While the programme is being launched by one Fingal Ravens clubman, another figure from the Rolestown club is charged with helping to implement it in Dublin in his role as Dublin GAA Chairman.

Andy Kettle explained: 'The fact that eight out of every ten suicides in Ireland are men illustrates the absolute necessity for a campaign such as Mind Our Men.

'We are delighted in Dublin to play our part and are asking every club to get involved. We really believe that this campaign will save lives.

'Saving just one life would be worth so much more than anything else we could do as an organisation.'

The programme is receiving generous sponsorship from Vodafone and the company has said they were happy to get involved.

Vodafone Ireland sponsorship manager, Robert Hyland said: 'We are delighted to have been able to connect Dublin GAA and Pieta House to launch Mind Our Men across the county.

'This is all about making sure people who are suffering emotional distress are, first and foremost, spotted and then supported.

'No network in the country can help do that like the GAA so we are really pleased that they are putting their full weight behind this.'

This initiative will see Dublin GAA and Vodafone officially support Pieta House in encouraging clubs across the county to support the suicide crisis centre's 'Mind Our Men' campaign.

As part of that campaign, Pieta House are running the Mind Ur Buddy programme which aims to teach groups and organisations how to recognise the signs and symptoms of suicide and what to do if they have to refer a friend to a service like Pieta House.

In supporting this campaign, Dublin GAA will be asking clubs to put forward up to four men or women for a half-day of training under the Mind Ur Buddy programme.

Every club in the county will be contacted over the coming weeks to invite them to information evenings on the programme over the summer months.

The partnership was initiated by Dublin sponsors Vodafone, which will make way for the 'Mind Our Men' logo on the for the first game of both the senior football and hurling championship games. The placing of the Mind Our Men logo on the jersey of the country's most supported county will help raise awareness of the unique campaign among the clubs, their members and GAA fans all over Ireland.

Fingal Independent

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