WITH the fine weather set to continue over the weekend, a big turnout is expected for the fifth annual mental health awareness walk at Portumna Forest Park on Sunday next, May 7, starting at 3pm.
This is one of a series of walks around the country organised by the IFA with the support of the See Change mental health awareness group; Coillte and Mental Health Ireland.
The walks are all part of the national ‘Green Ribbon Day’ walks aimed at getting people of all ages talking openly about mental health in an effort to break the stigma associated with the issue.
Galway organiser, Maura Canning, said that everyone across the county and indeed throughout Ireland, knew of families touched by mental health issues adding that there was tremendous goodwill waiting to be tapped into.
“This is not a fund-raising exercise – just a simple, walk, chat and cup of tea where we can all talk about very informally about mental health issues.
“We are encouraging everyone to wear the green ribbon through the month of May and even longer if they wish, just as a symbol of their concern and interest in mental health issues,” said Maura Canning.
Irish country music singing legend, Mike Denver, will be making his usual appearance at the walk while Sabrina Fallon of ‘Glór Tire’ country music fame will also be there and is expected to perform a few songs.
According to See Change – an alliance of organisations working together to bring about positive change in public attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems – the forest walks are ‘a simple way to show support for people with mental health issues’.
One of the main aims of the event is to break the stigma of silence associated with mental issues across Ireland. Every year in Ireland, close on 500 people take their own lives.