Last year the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the GAA teamed up to help boost access to comprehensive primary health care.
This is the first time a mental health intervention has been introduced through a sports organisation.
Midleton GAA took part in the programme run as part of the GAA healthy club initiative.
The 6-week programme was designed to help people protect themselves by pointing out the signs of and symptoms of stress.
Jennifer Hayes, Principal Psychology Manager with the HSE told the Frontpagenews”Primary Care Health Centres provide services to people on a one to one basis. We find it hard to attract men to the service. All walks of life take part in the GAA. Running this initiative with them has helped us break down barriers and get into the fabric of the community. The course was delivered to large numbers of people with 161 attending the Midleton sessions. Participants were not allowed ask questions, so not to put pressure on the individual. A psychologist would present the information and people would go home and digest it. ”
Dr Hayes added ” we measured the stress and anxiety levels at the beginning of the course and then again at the end. We found a significant drop in those levels after the 6 week programme.”
The Cork Beats Stress programme was recently announced as regional winner of the Health Manager Institute of Ireland Awards. The Awards were established to recognise changes in the Irish Health care system by individuals who dare to do things differently. The national winner will be announced later this month by health minister Leo Veradkar.
Pierce McCarthy spokesperson for the Midleton Healthy Club initiative said “we initially thought it was going to be a slow burner. However, take up was excellent. Our healthy club mission is to promote health and wellbeing in the community. I think this is a very positive thing. It’s opened people’s eyes to mental health. The award has been a welcome shot in the arm for the club. We are getting nothing only praise. We would consider running something like this again in the future.”