Text WGPA or GPA to 50808 in Republic of Ireland
Text WGPA or GPA to 85258 in Northern Ireland

A new free wellbeing support text service offered by the Womens’ Gaelic Players Association (WGPA) and Gaelic Players Association (GPA) will provide another pathway for inter-county players who are in need of emergency support to reach out for help.

Players in the Republic of Ireland can text WGPA or GPA to 50808 while players in the six counties should text WGPA or GPA to 85258 to receive support from experienced, trained volunteers in the area of mental health.

The service is completely anonymous and is available around the clock, seven days a week and 365 days of the year. It will operate in addition to the GPA’s and the WGPA’s existing 24/7/365 confidential counselling phone lines. Any player who requires additional support after reaching out to the text line will be signposted to those phone lines for further support.
88 GPA members availed of counselling support in 2019 while 21 WGPA members sought help.

Jennifer Rogers, Player Welfare Manager at the GPA, said; “Supporting our members physical and mental wellbeing is a fundamental priority of the GPA and we are delighted to be able to offer this additional support to our members. The aim is to provide another avenue for members to seek support in a way that works best for them.
“We know that for some people talking to someone for the first time about what is going on for them can be difficult and some of our members have spoken publicly about ringing the counselling phone line and finding it difficult to speak so they have hung up. This new innovative service for should help overcome that barrier. No issue is too big or small, support is always available either over the phone or now through our text line.”

WGPA Chairperson Maria Kinsella added; “Alongside the GPA, the WGPA are delighted to offer this free confidential wellbeing text service to our members. The unique aspect of this service allows our members to seek help 24/7 and 365 days a year from their fingertips via a text message. It provides our members with another option to seek support when they are in a time of crisis.
“No player should feel they are on their own no matter the issue or situation they face. I would encourage any player who is going through a difficult time to avail of this confidential & free service or call our confidential WGPA counselling helpline. You are not alone.”

Ian Power, CEO at 50808 said; “We are delighted to be partnering with the GPA and WGPA to extend the listening support of our volunteers out into the massive player network of both associations. We’re determined to make the ‘50808’ number famous, so that people who need support with their mental health no matter what the issue – big or small – can access it 24/7 by texting with us. The work of the GPA & WGPA to make the 50808 service available to all of their members is truly remarkable and we believe it will help a lot of people around the country.”

All WGPA and GPA members have received a text asking them to save down the numbers to ensure they have them when they are needed.

The free text service is provided by 50808 in the Republic of Ireland (www.text50808.ie) and by Shout 85258 in Northern Ireland (www.giveusashout.org).

Maria Towey from 50808, Maria Kinsella, Chairperson of the WGPA, Simon McCroy of Antrim, Jennifer Rogers Project Co-Ordinator with the GPA and Roisín Howard of Tipperary pictured at the launch of the GPA/WGPA Member Support Text Line at Croke Park.