A month-long Green Ribbon campaign is taking place during May 2014 to promote the Green Ribbon, which is now the international symbol for mental health awareness and promotes positive mental health.
Just like the pink ribbon became a symbol for breast cancer awareness the Green Ribbon has been established as the international symbol for mental health awareness and has been introduced to Ireland by See Change.
See Change is a national programme to reduce stigma and challenge discrimination associated with mental health.
As part of the Green Ribbon campaign, the IFA, a founding partner of the See Change campaign, has partnered with Mental Health Ireland and Coillte Outdoors to organise a programme of national Let’s Talk & Walk Forest Walks to promote the Green Ribbon during the month of May.
The walks are taking place in five locations throughout Ireland. The first walk will take place at the Coillte Forest Park in Avondale, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow on Sunday next, May 4th 2014 at 3.00pm
Walkers will be given Green Ribbons to wear and are encouraged to wear them during the month of May to show their support for mental health awareness
The walk will give farmers and members of our rural communities an opportunity to enjoy two things they can all enjoy – Nature and Talking!
The purpose of the walks is to develop an interest in walking and talking, not necessarily about mental health, but everyday things as well.
Research tells us that at times of difficulty and turmoil in our lives, talking our issues through with a valued friend is one of the simplest but most effective interventions we can take to lessen stress.
Coillte Outdoors is Ireland’s leading provider of outdoor recreation with walking trails at 170 locations throughout Ireland and 11 Forest Parks.
The combined benefits of “Green Exercise” connection with nature and regular woodland walks are improved well-being, weight loss and life balance providing positive energy and contentment.
IFA Farm Family Chair Maura Canning encouraged people to participate in the walks and support this very important campaign. “Coillte is an ideal partner for this initiative, which is an important part of the overall work that is being done to persuade farm families to look after their mental health”.
Bill Murphy, Head of Recreation, Environment and Public Goods at Coillte said:
“We know that outdoor activities are good for us, but what is more surprising is that research has shown that specifically being in forests is good for our mental health. Coillte is Ireland’s largest provider of outdoor recreation and we are delighted to support this initiative by hosting a series of Let’s Talk and Walk Forest Walks across our state in May to promote the Green Ribbon. Get out and get involved in one of the events near you.”
John Saunders, director of See Change said, “You don’t have to be an expert to start talking about mental health and wearing the Green Ribbon is a simple way of showing support and standing up to the silence that breeds stigma”.
Positive mental health needs to be cultivated, according to Orla Barry, CEO, Mental Health Ireland. ‘A relaxing walk with friends or companions we meet along the way is good for body and mind. Keep going and make it a habit for life.’
The other walk venues are:
Co. Donegal Ards Forest Park Sun, May 11th at 3.00pm
Co. Galway Portumna Forest Park Sun, May 18th at 3.00pm
Co. Limerick Curraghchase Forest Park Sat, May 24th at 3.00pm
Co. Cork Island Wood Recreation Site Sun, May 25th at 3.00pm