O’Donovan Rossa GAC to Inspire Healthy Minds

Inspire has partnered with west Belfast’s O’Donovan Rossa GAC to provide the club with mental health awareness training.

The Healthy Minds programme aims at providing information, skills and advice on key areas of mental wellbeing, including nutrition, mindful breathing, addiction awareness and the importance of sleep. These topics were chosen by the senior team players as important issues that impact their wellbeing and on-field performance.

To mark the establishment of the Healthy Minds programme, O’Donovan Rossa has unveiled the new team shirt with the Inspire logo, in order to encourage more GAA players to look after their mental health and promote resilience within the sport. The new jerseys will be worn for all of the club’s 2021 championship games.

Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey said:

I want to commend O’Donovan Rossa GAC and Inspire on this project. This is a grassroots, player-led initiative aiming to break down barriers of stigma and to create a positive focus on mental wellbeing as well as physical. Rossa players have shown leadership in their club, as well as their community, and demonstrated by example that mental health issues can affect anyone.

Kerry Anthony, Chief Executive of Inspire, said:

“The Healthy Minds programme has been a fantastic initiative, which has allowed the senior players of O’Donovan Rossa to learn about the best ways to deal with mental health issues, along with the pressures that come with playing in high-level team sports.

Often, the focus will be on the physical health of players. However, to be resilient and ensure that their head is in the game, the mental wellbeing of players must also be considered. It is not easy to talk about mental health and the players are a real testament to both their club and their local communities for standing up and learning how best to be mentally well.

Everyone at Inspire is very proud that O’Donovan Rossa will have our logo on their jersey and we wish them the best of luck for the championship.

O’Donovan Rossa’s senior football captain, Richard Gowdy, said:

It has been really beneficial for myself and all my teammates to be part of the Healthy Minds programme and work with Inspire on mental health issues that are important to us as players and teammates.

The Healthy Minds programme has really opened our eyes to how being mentally fit can help make us more resilient and competent players, while also making sure we are all in good headspaces, on and off the pitch.

There is still a stigma around talking about your mental health in sport. However, through our work with Inspire, we feel that it is key to break down those barriers and make sure all involved in GAA know the importance of mental health awareness – for themselves and their teams. It will help us all get to the top of our game.

Maura McMenamin, Ulster GAA’s Community, Health & Wellbeing Manager, said:

Congratulations to O’Donovan Rossa on their Healthy Minds Programme. The mental and emotional wellbeing of our members is of paramount importance and I’m delighted to see O’ Donovan Rossa make this a core part of their club activities.

We would also like to congratulate Inspire on this fantastic initiative, and whom Ulster GAA have partnered with on a number of mental health programmes. I look forward to launching our emotional wellbeing winter programme with Inspire later this year.