Get Walking, Get Talking – IFA Announces Series of Forest Walks for Green Ribbon Campaign

At the launch of a series of forest walks for the Green Ribbon Campaign organised by IFA, Helen McEntee, Minister for Older People and Mental Health said, “The Let’s Talk and Walk events, which form part of the Green Ribbon Campaign, are a great initiative to help get people talking openly about mental health problems.

I would encourage everyone to get involved in one of the six forest walks organised around the country by IFA, in association with See Change, Coillte and Mental Health Ireland.”

She continued that the Green Ribbon campaign recognises and promotes talking about mental health problems as a basic first step, “We need to make it ok to acknowledge and discuss mental health problems in our society. These issues impact all of us in some form, and open communication helps to tackle misinformation, shame and stigma.”

IFA President, Joe Healy says walks are a great chance to take time out with family and friends in beautiful surrounds, and show support for this hugely important campaign: “This is the fifth year the IFA has organised the walks and they have proven to be extremely popular each year. Everybody knows somebody who has been affected by mental health problems, and people really want to let farm families living with mental health challenges know that they are not alone.”

He said the Green Ribbon campaign provides an opportunity to elevate the conversation on mental health to a national level and bring mental illness out of the shadows.

The walks are part of a month-long national Green Ribbon Campaign organised by See Change to get people talking openly about mental health problems and to break the stigma of silence associated with mental health. The Let’s Talk and Walk events encourage people to take time out of their busy lives, go for a walk and support the campaign to change minds about mental health – one conversation at a time.

Gerard Murphy, Managing Director at Coillte said “As Ireland’s largest provider of outdoor recreation, Coillte is delighted to support this initiative and promote positive mental health by hosting the walks; I would encourage everyone to get out and involved and experience the peaceful and beautiful surrounds of our forest parks and trails and we’d love to see you back walking Coillte’s tracks and trails more regularly”.

“The Let’s Talk and Walk series of walks create a space to spend some uninterrupted time with our friends and family away from the many everyday distractions. Being outdoors in nature, enjoying good company while getting some gentle exercise really promotes positive mental health and a sense of wellbeing,” says Martin Rogan CEO Mental Health Ireland.

“We are delighted to partner with the IFA, See Change and Coillte on these unique community walks and we hope you can join us at one of the listed locations, for a great day out”.

You don’t need to be an expert to start talking about mental health and you don’t have to have all the answers, says John Saunders, Director of See Change, “Sometimes just listening is the most helpful thing you can do. Joining in with these walks and wearing the Green Ribbon during the month of May is a simple way to show support for anyone experiencing mental health problems and of starting a conversation.”

The Let’s Talk and Walk will take place in the following locations during May:

  • Sunday, May 7th 2017 @ 3pm Coillte Portumna Forest Park, Portumna, Co. Galway
  • Sunday, May 7th 2017 @ 3pm OPW Doneraile Park & Gardens, Doneraile, Co. Cork
  • Sunday, May 14th 2017 @ 3pm Coillte Ards Forest Park, Ards, Co. Donegal
  • Friday, 19th May 2017 @ 7.30pm Lough Muckno Forest Park, Co. Monaghan
  • Sunday, May 21st 2017 @ 3pm Coillte Avondale Forest Park, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow
  • Sunday, May 28th 2017 @ 3pm Coillte & OPW Emo Park & Gardens, Co. Laois


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