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Samaritans teaming up with CDSL to emphasise the importance of looking after one’s mental fitness

Champion Chatter

Plans are currently underway for Samaritans volunteers to visit soccer clubs across the county to emphasise the importance of looking after one’s mental fitness.

Clare District Soccer League (CDSL) approached Samaritans of Ennis and Clare to team up with them and deliver pitch side talks to the management teams and players from approximately 35 teams over the coming months.

More than 1,000 players of all genders and abilities from age 16 up play in the league.

Margaret McMahon, a volunteer and director with Samaritans in Ennis, said looking after one’s mental health is as important as improving a person’s physical health.

“Our aim is to attend as many training sessions as possible, but instead of speaking about match performance, we’ll be chatting about mental health. How we can be aware of it, how we can improve it, how we can nurture it, and, most importantly, what to do if all isn’t well.”

“The idea behind it is to normalise the conversation around mental health and make it ok to talk about our mental health, the same way players would discuss a sports injury. No one can play to the best of their ability if they are not both physically and mentally well. We are very grateful to Clare District Soccer League for this initiative.”

Samaritans of Ennis and Clare are also partnered with Fairgreen Celtic who display the charity’s contact number 116 123 on their jerseys.

The Samaritans operate the only 24-hour emotional support helpline in Ireland, with volunteers available 24/7 on 116 123. This number is free from any phone and the number does not show up on a phone bill.

Margaret said everyone involved in a team sport – every player, coach and supporter – should be aware of their own mental health and try to support others around them.

“Nobody should suffer alone. We would encourage anyone struggling to cope to reach out for support or call an organisation like Samaritans on freephone 116 123.”

Richard Cahill, of the Clare District Soccer League (CDSL), welcomed the partnership with Ennis Samaritans, which will see the 116 123 phone number promoted across the league.

“We are all far too aware of the potentially horrific consequences of poor mental health; so we decided let’s do something, anything, to help people realise they are not alone there is always someone there to listen, and a problem shared will lighten any burden. This is about raising awareness.”

For more information on the partnership – or to enquire about becoming a volunteer with Ennis Samaritans, contact

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