Thursday 22 February 2018

'What will I do without Facebook?' - GAA team hand over smartphones in mental health awareness drive

Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

One Irish gaelic football team are handing over their smartphones for a whole month to raise awareness of the link between overuse of social media and depression.

The entire Galway Ladies Football panel giving up their mobiles during the month of June to encourage people to stop 'scrolling, scrolling, scrolling' and instead to talk to each other. 

Captain Edel Concannon said they have produced an amusing video with a serious message.

“We are trying to highlight the link between over-use of social media and issues such as depression, though we realise that it's going to be tough for the younger girls (to hand in their phones) because it's part of their life,” she said.

The Galway girls hope to raise €10,000 for Pieta House West which provides a service, free of charge, to anyone affected by suicide or deliberate self-harm.

Edel said that the girls will be getting Nokia style phones that only allow calls and texts.

“There was a lot of scrolling going on in people’s company in general I think with young people these days not really living in the moment so I suppose it’s to encourage those to leave down their phones and talk to people in the room and the second reason is to raise awareness of the link between overuse of social media and depression.

“People these days are stuck to their phone. It’s an extension of their hand.”

Team player and Health Promotion student Deirdre Brennan said: “Health is most important asset; you can’t really put a price on it.

“Mental health unfortunately, there’s still a strong stigma around it particularly in Ireland. What we’re trying to do is raise awareness around mental health and that it’s ok to not be ok. There’s a strong correlation between social media and mental health issues.”

The video shows the team taking selfies at the goals with one player asking “what will I do without Facebook?” as she puts her smartphone into the bucket.

“My parents have the text and calls phone only .They can’t understand how I’m sitting on the couch scrolling on this phone, that they want to talk but my head is stuck in the phone,” said Edel, team captain.

“The serious message is I suppose just to get the point out there and get people to realise that there is a link between the overuse of social media and depression.

“There’s sometimes you would be on snapchat looking at people’s stories and they’re out every second night and you feel like you’re not really doing anything with your life and you’re comparing your life to this one that they paint via social media but it’s not a true reflection, it’s the one that’s delivered and it does have an effect on mental health.”

“I would advise young people or even elderly people to spend less time scrolling on your phone and more time in the moment. And actually communicating with people,” said Deidre.

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