GPA see three-fold increase in members accessing counselling service

Issues relating to depression and gambling addiction show marked rise

GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 01:00

The Gaelic Players Association Mental Health Review for 2013 shows an over 300 per cent rise in members accessing the organisation’s confidential counselling service compared to 2012.

The 24-hour, 365-day service for GPA members saw 94 members access the service in 2013 compared to 31 in 2012 – an increase of 303 per cent – with those presenting with cases of depression rising over eight-fold from four to 33.

Those presenting with gambling addiction also showed a marked rise, from seven to 22, while alcohol addiction went from no cases in 2012 to eight this year.

There was a fall in anxiety-related issues from 12 to 10, while there were no cases relating to suicidal ideation compared to one in 2012.

The GPA published today’s review to highlight the availability of the programme throughout the Christmas holidays including Christmas Day and to outline the GPA’s internal mental health campaign for 2014.

Speaking about the publication, GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell commented: “We have published this short review of our Mental Health Programme today firstly to highlight the increase in the level of engagement from county players with this service and secondly to draw attention to the availability of the nationwide service over Christmas, a period which can sometimes prove difficult for those in distress.

“We also want to indicate our intention to establish a specific campaign in 2014 aimed at encouraging players to engage with our mental health program and services with a focus on changing the culture within our membership.

“The death by suicide of Galway’s Niall Donohue has sharpened the focus on our challenge. We know we must redouble our efforts to make sure that the young men in society struggling with distress are encouraged to engage with support, that we hear the call and recognise the signs of their distress.”

GPA Member Line – Freephone Republic of Ireland 1800 201 346 and from Northern Ireland dial 0808 234 5183

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