Grassroots Gazette Press Office
Wednesday, 16th January 2023
‘HAY’ How Are Ya Mental Health Campaign off to a Jumping start for the Equine Community
Campaign launch video supported by industry stars including Rachel Blackmore, AP McCoy, Willie and Danny Mullins and Ireland’s largest Representative Equine Bodies
A historic mental health campaign for equestrians has been launched with the goal of raising awareness and reducing the stigma around mental health within the equestrian community.
The campaign, entitled #HAYHowAreYa is being run by The Grassroots Gazette and is supported by Ireland’s biggest representative bodies and associations for equestrians. Its aim is to address the unique mental health challenges faced by equestrians and to give them the support they need to take care of their mental health, both on and off the horse.
Speaking on RTE Drivetime yesterday evening, CEO of the Grassroots Gazette and campaign spokesperson Shane McCarthy said “The goal of the campaign is to get people talking, reaching out and asking HAY How Are Ya and taking the time to listen to the answer and see if they are ok.
“It really is important we have open dialogue like this across the equine industry. The Community is United, there’s so much of the equine industry that are featured in the video. United with a common message.
“If you have a mental health issue, you are not weak. You are just dealing with something and need support.
Also speaking on RTE Drivetime, Professional Jockey Danny Mullins said “Psychological stress and anxiety are a big part of racing as a jockey. That comes from a sport where you are getting beat so much that defeat becomes a part of daily life. For us within racing it is a 5 minute contract so pressure is a big part of it.
“It is very important for people within our industry and the wider equine community to just be there for each other. The highs are so high but you’ve got to be able to deal with the lows as well.
“Two years ago I broke my neck in a fall in Limerick and I remember lying in the hospital looking at the ceiling for about three days. It did cross my mind what if this is it… and would I be able to ride again and all those thoughts cross your mind.
“For those who say they don’t suffer or struggle from depression, I would say 100% of people in all walks of life encounter depression at some stage and it’s not healthy to bottle that up.
The campaign video also received support from notable equestrians, such as Rachel Blackmore, AP McCoy, Willy Mullins, Paul Townend, Nina Carberry, Shark Hanlon, Danny Mullins, Shane Foley, Mark Enright, Richie Condon, Zoe Smalley, Paul O’Shea, Darragh Byrne, Abi Lyle, Sorrel Klatzko and Caroline Miller.
Featured on the video, 20 time Champion Jockey AP McCoy said “Check up on 2-3 of your friends and just ask HAY – How Are Ya as everyone might not be ok. Someone may need to have a chat. You never know, you may have helped someone and to talk about the importance of mental health.”
Ireland’s biggest representative bodies and associations for equestrians have all committed their support for the campaign including; Horse Sport Ireland, Horse Racing Ireland (Equuip), Showjumping Ireland, Eventing Ireland, Dressage Ireland, The Restricted Trainers Association, The Irish Stable Staff Association, Irish Pony Society, British Horse Society Ireland, The Army Equitation School, Equitas, The Next Generation and The Irish Field.
The Official Video is available to view on the link below: