Jack Carty is using his own experience of online trolling to urge people to be supportive rather than negative on social media platforms.
The Connacht and Ireland fly-half is an ambassador for Rugby Players Ireland’s Tackle Your Feelings campaign supported by Zurich Insurance, whose research has revealed that one in 10 Irish people have been the victims of online bullying.
The research, conducted by iReach across the island of Ireland prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, also revealed that 47 per cent of Irish people use social media as part of their daily routine and 53 per cent of Irish people indicated they do not feel comfortable discussing their mental wellbeing with their friends.
Half of those surveyed agreed they need a tool to support them in prioritising their mental well-being and 93 per cent of parents who were surveyed agreed that social media has contributed to the cyber-bullying of children.
Carty, 27, is lending his support to the #ImTakingControl campaign which encourages people to take control of their mental well-being using principles from both sport and positive psychology at a time when many people are working from home for the first time, practicing social distancing, or even isolating.
The fly-half shared his experience of how he has coped with trolling on social media in the past and offered advice on how he puts things into perspective.
“I’m hoping my story will help people as they try to cope with this crisis we are facing over the coming weeks and months,” Carty said. “My experience dealing with negativity on social media has helped shape who I am today as a person, rugby player, team-mate and friend.
“It is important, not just for rugby players, but for everyone not to dwell on things they read on social media, both good or bad, and acknowledge when they’re feeling down.
“People need to remember that what they say on social media can have a big impact, and in these challenging times we should try to use these platforms to share positivity and to drive community spirit.”
Carty uses the TYF (Tackle Your Feelings) app, which encourages people to be proactive about their mental well-being. Users can choose the Tackle Your Feelings resources they feel they need at the time with the app and website featuring sections on relationships, confidence, happiness/sadness, sleep, self-care, resilience, anger, relaxation, optimism, and self-awareness as well as offering mindfulness exercises.