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Top sporting stars band together as NI ambassadors for Mental Health Week

Warning: Video content contains sensitive material about mental health issues that you may find distressing

Paddy Barnes, who is one of Sport Northern Ireland's Mental Health Ambassadors (©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd)
Paddy Barnes, who is one of Sport Northern Ireland's Mental Health Ambassadors (©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd)

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, three of Northern Ireland's top sporting stars have spoken out bravely about their struggles as Mental Health Ambassadors.

In association with Sport Northern Ireland, former GAA star Oisin McConville and boxers Carly McNaul and Paddy Barnes have detailed their problems with mental health to try and raise awareness and understanding to help others.

The videos are in support of the NI Wellbeing in Sport Action Plan - a six year commitment between Sport NI, the PHA and key partners. The aim of this plan is to improve and support the mental health and wellbeing for people involved in sport across Northern Ireland.

According to the NI Wellbeing in Sport Action Plan, it is committed to:

1. Engage, promote and support positive mental health and wellbeing

2. Build capacity and capability around mental health in sports clubs

3. Identify and inspire help seeking behaviours. Reduce stigma and discrimination

4. Invest and implement resources of people, time and money

In the powerful videos, two-time Olympic medalist and two-time Commonwealth Games boxing gold medalist Paddy Barnes and two-time All-Star former Armagh player Oisin McConville discuss their struggles with gambling addictions.

In the third video, Commonwealth games silver medalist Carly McNaul describes how she attempted to take her own life when she was younger.

All three Ambassadors have battled with their own mental health. We learn from the videos how they have come out the other side.

If you are struggling with mental health issues or need someone to talk to then you can contact Lifeline for free at any time on 0808 808 8000.

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