John McCarthy; Anna Geary; Óisín McConville; Marie Clancy; Larry Murphy; Stacy Cannon and Rory Doody
Kildare GAA hosted a Mental Health Awareness Evening in Newbridge Town Hall recently to create awareness and minimise the stigma associated with such issues.
The theme was ‘Be Kind To Your Mind’. Allenwood's Stacey Cannon, GAA National Health and Wellbeing co-ordinator spoke about what the GAA has to offer in the area of health and wellbeing.
Former Armagh footballer, Oisin McConville said the most important lesson to be learnt from his gambling addiction was not reaching out for help or talking to anyone about his problem.
Former Cork Camogie player, Anna Geary spoke about her personal experiences with anxiety and how to cope being ‘comfortable in your uncomfortable self’. She talked about being pro-active, taking care of yourself both physically, nutritionally, and mentally.
Larry Murphy, former Wexford hurler, captured the audience with his detailed account of his work with Marine Watch in Wexford — a group of people who spend the weekends walking the marine area of Wexford, assisting young people with suicidal thoughts.
Since the setup of this initiative no lives have been lost in the sea through suicide. Larry spoke of the importance of not losing sight of young people enjoying GAA and not concentrating solely on winning.
Rory Doody, Head of Mental Health Engagement for Cork and Kerry, gave a heart rendering account of his personal experiences within the psychiatric system as a young person.
Dublin footballer, Kevin McManamon, shared his personal experiences with performance anxiety and how his negative thoughts would take over his mind on big performance days.
A special request was made by local photographer, Adrian Melia to address the audience. Adrian shared his present journey with his battle with cancer. He explained how his mental health has helped him to remain so positive. Adrian’s positive outlook was acknowledged with a warm round of applause, as he completed his talk. County chairman Ger Donnelly acknowledged the work of the organising committee and asked all clubs to appoint a Health and Welfare officer.