SOS, GAA & Vodafone

SOS, GAA & Vodafones TALK, LISTEN, CHANGE CAMPAIGN: What is it about?

One of the highlights of 2012 was a unique partnership with Vodafone, Dublin GAA and Suicide or Survive to raise awareness of mental health issues

On Monday, January 23rd, 2012 Vodafone and Dublin GAA announced a unique initiative for the first games of the Allianz National Football and Hurling Leagues that delivered a timely boost for promotion of mental health issues in Ireland.The country’s largest total telecoms provider vacated its jersey sponsorship for the opening Croke Park Spring Series 2012 football league clash with Kerry and hurling league meeting with Galway for Suicide or Survive. This was the first time a jersey logo was handed over by a sponsor to a charity for a competitive inter-county match.

" Mental health issues are more prevalent in Irish society today than ever before and suicide is now the leading cause of death among young people. That shows how serious the problem is and the Dublin jersey is a great platform to raise awareness of these issues from. We are delighted to support the on-going campaign around mental health issues by setting aside our logo for the Suicide or Survive charity for these games."
– Vodafone Ireland Strategy Director Paul Ryan

The undertaking, which saw the SOS logo replace Vodafone’s for the two games, was initiated by and promoted through the Vodafone Ireland Foundation, which provides funding annually to a number of Irish charities. SOS was one of Vodafone Ireland Foundation’s charity partners.

The two match initiative – for the football league opener against Kerry on Saturday night, February 4th 2012 in Croke Park and the first hurling league game against Galway in Pearse Stadium on February 26th 2012 – was built around a ‘Talk, Listen, Change’ (TLC) theme.

The objective was to encourage people enduring stress and other mental health challenges to open up about their difficulties, seek the support available and by doing so effect a positive change in their mental health.

" We didn’t have to think twice when Vodafone came to us with the idea of swapping their logo for that of the Suicide or Survive Charity for these games. With one in four people experiencing mental health problems at some stage in their lives, it is essential that organisations like Dublin GAA and the GAA get behind efforts to encourage people to talk and look for the help that’s out there."
– Dublin GAA CEO John Costello

CEO and founder of SOS, Caroline McGuigan described the joint Vodafone-Dublin GAA initiative as one of the most important developments since the organisation was established. “This is a wonderful gesture by Vodafone and Dublin GAA. It’s the biggest opportunity we have had as a charity to reach and educate people about mental health issues, not least breaking the stigma around them. Between confirmed suicides and undetermined deaths, it’s estimated that 600 plus people die to suicide each year. That’s a two people per-day average, three times the number of deaths in 1980, for example, and three times the number of people killed on our roads.”