Last month, Rugby Players Ireland and Zurich launched the Tackle Your Feelings app. As we've written about on Balls.ie, the app is a brilliant resource for anyone looking to develop and improve upon their mental well-being. Since the launch of the Tackle Your Feelings campaign, we've seen Ireland's rugby players driving the conversation around mental well-being in truly compelling ways.
However, Tackle Your Feelings is just not valuable tool for elite rugby players. Its core values are useful for people in all walks of life. Interestingly, we're seeing the Tackle Your Feelings making a hugely positive impact in two Irish secondary schools where rugby is central to student identity.
Anyone watching the Senior Cup on Eir Sport this year will have noticed the Tackle Your Feelings logo front and centre on the St Mary's jersey. The Rathmines secondary school had a brilliant run in the Senior Cup before falling short in the semifinal against Blackrock and deputy principal Barry Leonard spoke to Balls.ie about the positive effects that have come from being linked with the Tackle Your Feelings campaign.
"Mental well-being is really important to us. In the same way that we encourage our students to maintain physical fitness, we find that mental well-being is something that students have to work on regularly. Tackle Your Feelings encourages that."
Jack McGrath is a past pupil of St Mary's and after seeing McGrath's honest and open contribution to the launch of the Tackle Your Feelings campaign, Leonard decided to approach McGrath about using the logo on the school jersey. This was the second year that the Tackle Your Feelings logo was emblazoned on the St Mary's jersey and Leonard says both players and coaches at St Mary's were delighted to be sporting it across their chests.
"We try to provide students with as many opportunities to talk as they may need. Campaigns like this have made it much easier for people to realise how important it is to share their feelings."
The Royal Belfast Academical Institution is another Irish secondary with a storied rugby tradition that's worked with Tackle Your Feelings. The school has been actively engaged with the principles that inspire Tackle Your Feelings across its well-being programmes.. It brought sports psychologist and Tackle Your Feelings campaign manager Créde Sheehy-Kelly to address an assembly of the entire school, while Sheehy-Kelly and Christina Mahon also did a workshop with RBAI's first XV. The TYF logo is also emblazoned on the RBAI's training tops.
Jack Allen, who's in charge of well-being initiatives at RBAI, said the school is now looking at ways to integrate the Tackle Your Feelings app into its own well-being programmes.
The conversation about mental well-being is changing thanks to initiatives like Tackle Your Feelings. Some of Ireland's best rugby players are leading this change. But some of Ireland's future rugby stars are also lending a hand.
Downloading the Tackle Your Feelings app is a good place to start if you're looking to learn more about managing your well-being.