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When one thinks of kicking-off, do you immediately think about compassion?

When one thinks of lining-out, do you consider emotions?

These are not obvious associations. However, for the Transition Year Students of Portumna Community School these associations make perfect sense. Tackle Your Feelings is an initiative of Rugby Players Ireland that centres on the use of a bespoke schools’ app, supporting young people’s mental health. Portumna Community School has been a pilot school for this programme.

Since the closure of school facilities, our Transition Year students have been engaging with this online programme, a positive support in these unprecedented times. Steered by their teachers, students have been guided through resources and completed tasks and exercises designed to increase awareness and knowledge about their own mental health and wellbeing.

The app is designed in a linear format, where sections build on previous learning to enable students in supporting their own wellbeing. When each section is completed the next unlocks allowing students and teachers to progress through the programme.

This programme is unique. It couples maintaining positive wellbeing with rugby player testimony, and is based on sport psychology research. As Eimear Considine, a Munster Rugby Player and one of TYF’s ambassadors stated “it’s not about being the best, it’s about being your best”. Likewise, Connacht’s own Jack Carthy speaks about gratitude as a key element underpinning his positive attitude.

Students from PCS gave their review of the programme:

“I personally think this has helped to motivate myself during the pandemic and keep myself organised, happy and healthy. I now have small personal goals that I want to work at and achieve.”

“I would definitely recommend this Tackle Your Feelings app as it gives you a better idea of how to deal with certain emotions you may feel as well as how to cope with your feelings in a suitable manner. I think it is an excellent way to explore your overall wellbeing and become more in tune with yourself also.”

“A lot of the time people overlook their feelings and don’t understand their importance. I think the app is beneficial to everyone also as it provides positive tips on improving bad habits such as changing your sleeping pattern and your nutrition.”

“I am looking forward to doing more activities on the app and reaching the personal goals I set for myself in my personal locker”

“I liked the way that at the beginning of each part of the app the rugby players gave their insight into the given topic. I enjoyed setting different goals during the app for myself to achieve as it gave me something to challenge myself with.”

“I think popular sporting stars promoting the app removes the stigma sometimes surrounding mental health especially in men as sometimes there is a misconception that men or boys should be emotionless and tough when in reality we are all human and we all have to mind our mental health. All in all I enjoyed this app and will use it again”

“The app is an easy way to learn about tips to recognize various emotions and how to deal with them”

“This app is much better than I expected and is really helpful.”

“I would strongly recommend the app to other schools because it helps immensely with your mental wellbeing and is a positive and enjoyable experience.”

Portumna Community School was keen to become involved and honoured to be one of the few schools chosen to pilot this programme.


This article was provided to the Nenagh Gurdian and the Connacht Tribune by Portumna Community School. It is reproduced with their kind permission.