“Mental health awareness is at the heart of the project, but we wanted to go further”

“Mental health awareness is at the heart of the project, but we wanted to go further”

“MENTAL SKILLS IS something that came into my life the hard way,” says Alan O’Mara.

“I was always very open and honest about my background, that I didn’t have those skills. I didn’t have things like self-awareness, resilience, self-compassion.

“The good thing is that they are a skill…I grew up playing football all my life – taking kicks, for example, I only got better if I practiced them. I couldn’t tell you how many hours I spent kicking a soccer ball through the pillars in my garden, just practicing, over and over.

“But I’ve never done that from a mental skills perspective.”

The former Cavan goalkeeper discusses his latest project, the Real Talks with SOSAD Ireland wellness series.

Now a performance and wellness consultant living in New York City, you may also know O’Mara as the founder of Real Talks and author of “The Best Is Yet To Come.”

A link with SOSAD Ireland has recently emerged, all parties involved have come together to create an online wellness hub to promote positive mental health.

Then there are the powerful conversations with inspiring Irish personalities, which have a common thread through guests like Leanne Kiernan, Rory O’Connor (Rory’s Stories) and David Balfe (the musician, For Those I Love).

O’Mara would like to highlight the invaluable work and important services provided by SOSAD Ireland: a 24/7 helpline, crisis assistance, free advice for those in need and a SMS support service.

Source: Real Talks/YouTube

“In addition to raising awareness about mental health, we also wanted to go further,” he explains.

“We really wanted to promote and highlight the real, tangible and practical services that SoSad provides for free to people.

“Secondly, we also wanted to share reliable and thought-provoking information with people who could help them. We are very fortunate with the quality and caliber of people who have agreed to contribute.

“Rory’s Stories, Leanne Kiernan, and David Balfe came to me to talk about various aspects of wellness. In addition to getting people to talk about the struggles they’re going through, there’s also a focus on sharing what makes them feel better. helped manage them.

“These are well-known faces exploring their life stories, their personal experiences. then around those discussions, I do mini mental skills masterclasses, which are really short, concise videos and podcasts that break down specific mental skills.

“Mental health awareness is so important. It’s so crucial that we keep doing it. But the next level is to empower individuals on a day-to-day basis and also highlight services and support. »

O’Mara’s own history is well documented, his past struggles often tied to sports. Mental health in sport is a subject that is being talked about more and more.

Leanne Kiernan is one of O’Mara’s guests on the podcast.

Credit: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Most obviously with Kiernan, a Republic of Ireland international and professional footballer at Liverpool FC, and to a lesser extent with O’Connor and Balfe.

“Sport is absolutely an important part of all their lives in different ways: Rory was the minor captain of Meath when he was younger, and it was something that held him together in his late teens because it gave them purpose and identity.

“Leanne, she has the opportunity to go to the UK as a young woman. She is a brilliant athlete, an extremely talented footballer, but injuries are coming to her doorstep and are starting to undermine her confidence. She opens up and tells us about the supports she engages with, the struggles she’s been through, and basically how she’s rebuilding them back to who she has become: a star and a light. brilliant in the midst of one of the greatest football clubs in the world.

“I know, as we speak, she just had a serious injury. In some ways, she’s going to be lucky now because she’s been through some of these things before. We’re talking resilience – and while I don’t doubt Leanne is being challenged right now, she’s able to dive back into what has helped her before.

“I guess David’s is a bit different. David is not known to be a sports player, but he is very much associated and linked with Shelbourne FC. David’s best friend Paul died by suicide, he was an incredibly passionate Shelbourne fan. David has spoken publicly about how the sport was a place he could go after losing his friend, even just to reconnect and feel closer to him. Sport offered a place of positive escape.

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Source: RealTalks/SOCIATION/Alan O’Mara.

Self-awareness, resilience, self-compassion, authenticity, growth mindset, courage.

They are masterclasses in mental skills and tools that can be referred to time and time again.

Resilience is an O’Mara, like Kiernan, that relies heavily on.

“It’s about looking into the past to try to find the crumbs that we could put together to help you build your resilience and know, ‘Okay, I’ve got some of that in my pocket only when life takes me request to use it, I can use it.’

“And if that’s not enough, what’s happened to me and it’s happened to everyone on the show is, ‘I’m really struggling here. A bad day turned into a bad week, maybe a bad week turned into a bad month.

“I always say that once a bad week turns into a bad month and you start drifting on that scale, it’s, ‘Okay, who can I talk to? Where can I go? address?”

And that’s where SoSad Ireland comes in.

This is the lasting message that O’Mara wishes to convey.

alan omara

O’Mara was playing in goal for Cavan.

Credit: James Crombie/INPHO

“If anyone needs help, if they need support, if they need someone to talk to, SoSad Ireland is there. I’m very confident that the show promotes this message: ‘We We’re all human, we all have thoughts and feelings, we’re all challenged in different ways.” Mental health is really important, well-being is really important. Here are some mental skills and here are some services to contact . »


For more information see www.sosadireland.ie/real-talks/

#Mental #health #awareness #heart #project #wanted

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