IFA President Tim Cullinan has encouraged families to attend and support the Green Ribbon walks organised by IFA in partnership with See Change, Coillte, and Mental Health Ireland in support of the Green Ribbon campaign.
Eleven walks have been organised in venues throughout the country during August and September as part of the annual Green Ribbon campaign. The campaign aims to spread awareness about all mental health difficulties to help end mental health stigma and discrimination.
IFA President Tim Cullinan said, “It has been a difficult year for many farmers with increasing demands and rising input costs contributing to a lot of additional stress and strain on many farm families. The Green Ribbon walks provide an opportunity for friends, families and communities to connect”.
IFA Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair Alice Doyle said that this year marks the 10th year that IFA have been involved in the Green Ribbon walks.
“The nature of farming results in many farmers prioritising farm productivity over their own mental health. The Green Ribbon walks provide an opportunity for farmers and rural communities to take time out from their work and socialise with others outdoors.”
This year’s campaign was launched by Mary Butler, Minister of State with Responsibility for Mental Health.
“It is important that there are more conversations to challenge the stigma around mental health, especially in the farming community. Rural isolation and loneliness are real issues and these walks help to strengthen connections within the wider community.”
Managing Director at Coillte Mark Carlin said “Coillte is delighted to continue their support again this year for the Green Ribbon – Let’s Talk & Walk initiative. The health benefits to both our physical and mental wellness from contact with forests and nature is well established and this initiative aims to encourage everyone to get outdoors and use our forests, trails and recreation parks as a place to focus on improving our mental wellness, a challenge we all face in this increasingly fast paced and hectic world.”
“Coillte is very proud to able to host a number of the events around the country to help raise public awareness of mental health and encourage everyone to begin to talk about or support others in acknowledging and coping with the challenges they may be facing. I hope that everyone enjoys a walk in one of the many outstanding forest venues for this event and encourages their friends and family to participate.”
Martin Rogan CEO at Mental Health Ireland welcomed this year’s campaign saying “Mental Health Ireland is delighted to partner with the IFA and See Change on this invitation to ‘Walk and Talk’ – taking a moment to talk and listen can help to get things in perspective, reduce isolation and to see new solutions and options – Simply making some time to being a good friend and neighbour can, make an extraordinary difference and protects everybody’s mental health”.
Barbara Brennan, See Change team leader said, At See Change, we recognise the importance of supporting local communities to talk more openly about mental health.
“You don’t have to be an expert or have all the answers; simply wearing the Green Ribbon shows that you are open to having a conversation about mental health. These walks give farmers and members of rural communities a fantastic space for people to build connections, share knowledge about local support services, and take time out of our busy schedules to enjoy nature, while normalising conversations about mental health.”