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Dublin: 1°C Monday 17 January 2022

HSE and GAA join forces to offer 'practical ways' to deal with stress

Organisers say it is Ireland’s first sport and health partnership to help combat stress in the local community.

Image: Stress via Shutterstock

THE HEALTH SERVICE Executive (HSE) and the GAA will launch a joint initiative aimed at helping people cope with stress without having to visit their doctor later this week.

Mental Health Minister Kathleen Lynch will launch the joint initiative on Wednesday with GAA clubs in Midleton and St Finbarr’s in Cork who will run ‘Stress Control’ courses over the course of six weeks from the end of January.

Organisers say it is Ireland’s first sport and health partnership to help combat stress in the community with the aim of bringing information to people through their GAA Club, rather than them having to go to their doctor or local healthcare facility.

The free course is open to anyone over 18 and interested in learning how to manage stress.

‘Stress Control’ is a technique designed by Jim White, a clinical psychologist based in Scotland, and has been run in England and Ireland in recent years.

Classes will deal with a different topic each week and will teach skills to control stress and anxiety and offer solutions to sleep problems.

“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,” Dr Jennifer Hayes, a principal psychologist with the HSE South, said.

“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.”

Pearse McCarthy, project leader of the Midleton GAA Healthy Club, said that the GAA has identified a significant need for a practical course such as ‘Stress Control’.

“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,” he said.

“The benefits of sports and exercise are evident in many research studies; hence the GAA can play an important role in tackling stress.”

Courses will run weekly from 29 January to 5 March. For more information you can email CorkBeatsStress@hse.ie or call 086 787 1016

Read: People with a genetic history of stress feel more pain – study

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Hugh O'Connell

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