HSE and GAA tackle stress together

7th January 2014
By Bryan T. Smyth

The HSE South and the GAA join forces to help tackle stress – a first in Ireland

Minister of State, Kathleen Lynch, is to launch a HSE South and GAA joint initiative to help people deal with stress in their lives on Wednesday, 8th January 2014 at Páirc Uí Rinn in Cork.

Starting on Wednesday, January 29th, the HSE South and the GAA clubs in Midleton and St Finbarr’s, Togher, Cork will run a “Stress Control” course at each venue for six weeks. This is the first ever sport and healthcare partnership, to help tackle stress in the community, organised in Ireland. Bringing information on stress to the public in their communities at the local GAA club rather than having them attending a health care facility is what makes this course unique. The course is provided free of charge and open to anyone aged over 18 and interested in learning how to manage stress.

Dr. Jennifer Hayes, Principal Psychologist, HSE South who will deliver “Stress Control” at one of the venues says, “Stress is a normal part of life with virtually everybody being affected at some point in their lives. It is only a matter of time before life throws a curve ball and when stress levels rise or get out of control it can affect every aspect of our lives and the lives of those around us. When stress gets a grip it can affect how we think and feel, what we do or don’t do. It can affect our sleep and it can interfere with home life, work life and with our social lives. This course is open to anybody who is currently experiencing stress or interested in learning how to manage stress better and therefore improve their quality of life. Participants won’t be asked to talk about their problems or asked any personal questions. Each class will deal with a different topic and will include the causes of stress, skills to control your stress and anxiety and solutions to sleep problems. Classes are very easy to follow and participants are given booklets with explanations on how to control stress at the end of each class so that people can read them at home at their own pace.”

Pearse McCarthy, Project Leader of Midleton GAA Healthy Club said, “The GAA Healthy Clubs are delighted to be working with the HSE South on stress control, an important topic, which is experienced by so many. Stress is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society and the GAA has identified a significant need for a practical course as “Stress Control”. Whether it is financial problems, issues at work, family pressures or other challenges this course is designed to teach practical skills to reduce the stress that we all have to face at some time. The course is also beneficial in instances where people are not sure what the cause of their stress is, which is a common experience for many. The benefits of sports and exercise are evident in many research studies; hence the GAA can play an important role in tackling stress.”

“Stress Control” was designed by Jim White, a clinical psychologist based in Scotland and has been running in the UK over many years. More recently, it has been run by the HSE in Ireland with great success. However, this is the first time in this country that it will be delivered on such a large scale and more specifically as a joint initiative with a major sporting organisation to bring it to the very heart of communities. Research on this programme shows that it is effective in reducing participants’ stress levels.

Yvonne Finn Orde, General Manager HSE South said, “The HSE South is committed to bringing health information and service delivery as close as possible to people’s homes and this is a prime example of this commitment. The project is being supported by a wide range of community groups, local GPs, clubs, employers and other organisations in Midleton, Togher and across Cork city and county. This is a unique working collaboration which highlights the importance of working together to promote positive mental health in our families and communities.”

Stress Control will be held on six consecutive Wednesday evenings from January 29th to March 5th 2014 (inclusive) from 7.30pm – 9pm. People who wish to attend have a choice of venue and can either register to do the course in Midleton Park Hotel, Cork Road., Midleton or St. Finbarr’s GAA Club, Neenan Park, Togher, Cork.

To register to take part in the course and to book a place, please email your name and contact phone number to:

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