Owen Roes Gaelic Club, based in North Tyrone, have taken a pro-active approach to the issues, concerns and problems that local people face in their day to day living by ensuring that their members, and indeed others throughout Tyrone, are aware of some of the help that is available to them in terms of mental health support.
There’s not a community throughout Northern Ireland that doesn’t have some of its population suffering from self harm, trauma, abuse, depression, anxiety and suicide and with this in mind, the Owen Roes Club challenged themselves to ensure that people in their community knew that help was available. As such the Club recently decided that all Club jerseys would carry the Lifeline logo, and more importantly their contact number.
Owen Roes’ chairperson, Gerard Kelly explains “Our Club is no different to other Gaelic and sporting Clubs throughout the province. We too have people of all ages that face challenges in life, which manifest themselves via depression, stress and as we unfortunately know too well, at times suicide.
“The challenge for us was how to we ensure that our community knows that there’s help out there for them. We had a group in to talk to our members a year or so ago, and they did help get the message across. One of the initiatives that they encouraged was that all those present at the meeting, input the Lifeline number into their phones, so that people had the number to hand.
“However the concern for us was that people change phones, lose contact details, etc. So how do we ensure that the helpline number is always there in their conscience? How do we ensure that people know that help is there? This was the question we posed for ourselves. So we decided to emblazon all our Club jerseys with the Lifeline logo and more importantly the helpline number 0808 808 8000.
“Young people especially are always wearing Club tops, and we see Owen Roes jerseys about the community all the time. So, now the Lifeline number is out there visually in our community. We hope that it’s in their consciousness and people ultimately know that help is out there.”
Lifeline 0808 808 8000 is the Northern Ireland free phone crisis response helpline service for people of all ages who are experiencing distress or despair. They are a free phone number, where help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Gerard added, “Our Club U16 jersey is the first kit to have the logo, but over the next year or so, as we change out our kits we hope to have all the playing gear in sync. The number is confidential, and we’ll never know the answer, however if one person picks up the phone because of this, we’ll see this as a resounding success”.
The Lifeline crisis response helpline number is 0808 808 8000.
Pictured is Catherine McLaughlin from Lifeline, along with Kenna McNulty Owen Roes’ health and wellbeing officer. Also included are representatives from some of the Club’s various teams.