IFA Let’s Talk and Walk Officially Launched by Minister Lynch

Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Mental Health officially launched the Let’s Talk and Walk initiative organised by IFA in association with Coillte and Mental Health Ireland (MHI) as part of the See Change, national Green Ribbon campaign. The Let’s Talk and Walk want to encourage people to get out and start a conversation to change minds about mental health, one conversation at the time.

“I am delighted to launch the Let’s Talk and Walk series of forest walks as part of Green Ribbon campaign” said Minister Lynch. “I would like to compliment IFA, Coillte and Mental Health Ireland on this innovative initiative that provides communities with an opportunity to show their support and increase awareness about mental health by walking together in our beautiful forests parks and taking the time to talk.

The Green Ribbon campaign is a month long campaign in May, which hope to create a recognisable symbol, which is hoped will kick start a national conversation about mental health. It is not a fundraiser, the ribbons will be free to the public. Just like the pink ribbon has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness it is hoped the green ribbon will become the symbol for mental health awareness. The Let’s Talk and Walk are part of a series of national events to promote the green ribbon during May.

“IFA have been working with See Change for the last few years to encourage farmers to look after their mental health. These are very worrying times for many farmers with the current fodder shortage, uncertainty in relation to Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments, poor weather, high inputs costs and increasing regulations, it is easy to let it get to you”, said Mrs. Margaret Healy, IFA Farm Family + Social Affairs Chairwoman. “I am delighted Coillte had come on board and provided the forest parks as a safe, family friendly venue for the walks. We hope that people participate in the walks and support this very important campaign”, said Mrs. Healy.

The walks will take place in four Forest Parks in Wicklow, Galway, Limerick and Cavan every Sunday at 3pm during the month of May. The first walk will be in Avondale House and Forest Park, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow at 3pm on Sunday, 5th Mary 2013.

“Coillte is very pleased to be involved in this innovative campaign, in partnership with the IFA. We believe that this campaign has great potential to encourage the public to get out and enjoy nature, not just at the organised events, but in all our forests across the country. Coillte Outdoors is Ireland’s leading provider of outdoor recreation and we are committed to encouraging people to enjoy this great natural resource which can deliver a range of physical and mental health benefits to the people who use it,” said Gerry Egan, Group Director, Corporate Affairs at Coillte.

“Walkers will be given a ribbon on the day and this a simple way of showing your support for the campaign and leaving the door open for a conversation about mental health”, said Kahlil Thompson-Coyle, Campaign Manager, See Change. You don’t need to be an expert to start talking about mental health or have all the answers, sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is simply listen”.

“MHI is delighted to be associated with the upcoming Let’s Talk and Walk events. This innovative event allows members of the public to avail of the opportunity to enjoy two things inherent to us in Ireland….Nature and Talking!” said Brian Howard, Chief Executive Officer, MHI. “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 on to lessen our stress. I would like to compliment the IFA and Coillte for their commitment to the campaign and organising the walks on Sunday’s throughout May.”

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