GPA Counselling Service

The GPA operates an urgent confidential counselling support line for players which is available 24/7, 365 days a year.

For players in the South of Ireland please call 1800 989 285.

For players in the North of Ireland please call 0800 044 5059.

The Personal Counselling Service is a key component of the GPA Health and Wellbeing Programme. The service is designed to support players who are experiencing distress in their lives as well as promoting good mental health within the playing body and in wider Irish society. 

The Personal Counselling Service operated by a team of psychologists and counsellors and backed up by a 24 Hour Player Helpline supported 117 players in 2014 with a variety of issues ranging from simple stress-related problems to serious addiction and depression.

The GPA partners a number of mental health organisations through the Social Responsibility Programme, harnessing the profile of county players to help promote good mental health in the community.

Former Cork hurler Conor Cusack and Offaly footballer Niall McNamee, both powerful advocates for mental health in Ireland, now operate as ambassadors for the GPA Personal Counselling Service and our various campaigns and partnerships. 

A Positive Emotional Health and Wellbeing booklet was published by the GPA in 2014 along with a set of specific guidelines on gambling for county players.  

‘We Wear More’

In May 2014 the GPA launched ‘We Wear More Than Our County Colours’, an internal campaign focussing on the emotional health and wellbeing of county players. The aim of the campaign is to help normalise conversations between players around the more emotional aspects of their lives and to help them develop effective coping mechanisms for times when things are not going so well.

Featuring a visually-compelling short film highlights the many issues that can often trigger emotional reactions for players. Players are encouraged to look out for each other, to recognise signs of distress and to facilitate intervention through conversation and support.

Problems with retirement, relationship break-ups, depression, stress, financial difficulties, addiction, performance and anxiety all feature in ‘We Wear More’.

The theme of the campaign refers to the fact that behind the often high profile public persona of a county player, the individual wears more than the jersey and is frequently vulnerable to emotional distress.

Strong athletic identity, a characteristic of many elite footballers and hurlers despite their amateur status, can lead to a player struggling to cope with transition, serious injury or simply managing their dual career.

‘We Wear More’ is helping to raise self-awareness among the playing body and prepare players for the many adverse situations which may arise during their careers.

The GPA believes that by encouraging county players to engage in conversations about emotional wellbeing that this can have a positive impact on communities all over Ireland, encouraging young people in clubs, schools, colleges and in wider society to talk about their problems.

The campaign features the following county players: Michael Murphy (Donegal), Padraig Brehony (Galway), Seamus Hennessy (Tipperary), Alan O'Mara (Cavan), Padraig Collins (Clare), Conal Keaney (Dublin), Richie Hogan (Kilkenny), Colm Begley (Laois), Eoin Cadogan (Cork), Rob Hennelly (Mayo), Jonny Cooper (Dublin), Ciaran McKeever (Armagh), Lee Chin (Wexford), Niall McNamee (Offaly).

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Telephone Helpline 

A critical telephone helpline service which is available to GPA members 24/7, 365 days a year allows players constant access to a trained counsellor at the other end of the phone. Any serious and/or critical issues are dealt with immediately and emergency referrals provided if required. 

Freephone Republic of Ireland  1800 989 285 and from Northern Ireland dial 0800 044 5059. 

Counselling Service 

The GPA provides a nationwide team of psychologists and counsellors who are available to meet with players who require one-to-one treatment on a short- or long-term basis. Typical issues addressed are depression, anxiety, gambling addiction, bereavement and relationship difficulties.  

Residential Programme

In serious cases some members may require a residential treatment programme. The GPA has established a relationship with a leading treatment facility who will work with our psychologists to  ensure the player receives the best care and after-care programme possible.


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