IFA President Joe Healy has encouraged farm families to attend and support ‘Let’s Talk and Walk’ forest walks organised by IFA in partnership with See Change, Coillte, and Mental Health Ireland in support of the Green Ribbon campaign this month.
Eight walks have been organised in venues throughout the country during May, which is Green Ribbon month – a month dedicated to encouraging people in Ireland to End Mental Health Stigma.
IFA President Joe Healy said, “Stigma is a barrier to recovery for many people, but we hope as an Association to work together to create a greater acceptance for people with mental health problems, and put a stop to stigma.
“This has been a particularly tough year for many farm families and these walks provide an opportunity for communities to show support for a very worthwhile campaign and to help get people talking openly about mental health issues.”
He said the 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 sixth year the IFA has organised the walks and they have proved 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.”
Jim Daly, Minister of State with Responsibility for Mental Health welcomed the ‘Let’s Talk and Walks’ initiative, commenting, “We know that individuals who often work alone – like farmers – are identified as a priority group within our national strategy to reduce suicide, Connecting for Life. People working in this area can often feel isolated and may not be aware of how to access supports. These walks will help to strengthen connections within the farming and wider community, while sharing knowledge about what supports and services can maintain positive mental health.”
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”.
John Saunders, Director of See Change says you don’t need to be an expert to start talking about mental health and you don’t have to have all the answers, “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.”