Cork ladies footballer Valerie Mulcahy has said the reaction to her ‘coming out’ has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I’m delighted. There has been a flood of love and support towards me, my partner and my family, and I am extremely grateful for that. I wanted to make a difference to anybody who needed things to be different. I know now from the response I’ve had, that it’s helped to do that,” the multi All-Star winner said at yesterday’s launch of the Women’s GPA in Dublin.
Mulcahy featured in an RTÉ documentary on attitudes towards gay people by former Cork hurler and GPA chairman Donal Óg Cusack on Monday.
However at yesterday’s launch in Smock Alley Theatre, the Whitechurch woman was keen to turn the attention towards a vital service which the WGPA will be offering inter-county players.
An executive member of the association, Mulcahy had the honour of announcing the 24-hour, free players’ support line in conjunction with EAP Consultants.
“It’s a good avenue for people to talk, not just about issues on the field but off the field also, whether that’s the everyday demands of life or the struggles that people go through — be that bereavement, a lack of motivation or lack of self-esteem, which can often be the case for players, relationships, personal problems, financial issues or sexuality.
“For the WGPA to provide that service is brilliant. It’s great that players can now pick up the phone and speak to someone who can provide them with professional help and give them a bit of counselling in a confidential manner.
“There’s a lot of demands on players. Things can get a bit overwhelming and people can naturally get stressed out.
“It’s a long road, but a short career, and to be able to have supports in place for people to achieve their goals is great to see. If there is any ladies footballers or camogie players out there who are in need of the service, I would urge them to contact the WGPA via the website,” she added.
Trained staff will provide immediate support to players and subsequently will help them consider various referral options across a range of issues such as mental health, stress, relationship worries, financial concerns, legal issues and family life. Up to six free face-to-face counselling sessions in nationwide centres will also be available.
WGPA members will also have access to a customised website where they can find information on a variety of topics related to health and well-being. Members will receive the free-phone number and website link to avail of this service.
Outside of that, the WGPA will also provide six scholarships to student members who are currently studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level in a third-level institution in Ireland or overseas.
Student members are encouraged to apply online at www.wgpa.ie before Wednesday, January 28, and applications will be screened by the WGPA Executive Committee, with an interview process commencing the week beginning February 2.
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