Promoting mental health in Donegal, one step at a time

Peadar McDaid to finish Mental Health Awareness Walk in Letterkenny today

Carolyn Farrar


Carolyn Farrar


Promoting mental health in Donegal, one step at a time

Peadar McDaid, on his walk from Moville to Burt yesterday. Photo: Brian McDaid

Peadar McDaid is to arrive in Letterkenny this afternoon, at the end of a 241-kilometre walk that began last Wednesday in Donegal town.

He has walked in nearly all weathers over these past eight days, from the warm sunshine of last week to the rain a couple of days ago.

Peadar is to leave Burt at about 9am this morning, and arrive at the ArtCo Gallery on Pearse Road in Letterkenny at about 2.30pm, where people will greet him as he concludes his walk.

Peadar’s Mental Health Awareness Walk has taken him from Donegal town to Glenties, Dungloe, Gortahork, Fanad Lighthouse, Ballygorman, Carndonagh, Moville, and Burt with different groups and individuals accompanying him along parts of the journey.

The goal of the walk is to make people aware of the mental health services available in Donegal and to promote the value of walking and activity for mental health.

He wanted to thank everyone who has helped over the eight days and is also grateful to the people who beeped the horn or gave a wave when they saw him on the road. Those gestures, “give you that wee boost to get the foot down and keep moving," he said.

“The support is great and keeps me going,” said Peadar, who has been an arts tutor with the Mental Health Services at Create-A-Link Art Studio in Letterkenny for the past 15 years.

Peadar, on the seventh day of his eight-day walk. Photo: Brian McDaid

These are some of the mental health service providers Peadar has promoted during his walk.

Grow holds free weekly mental health support meetings across Donegal, in Dungloe, Letterkenny, Buncrana, Stranorlar, Donegal town, Carndonagh and Killybegs. Grow meetings are free to attend and open to people over age 18. For more information, visit the website,
Solas is a HSE rehabilitation training programme designed to engage people who have been involved with the mental health system in outdoor activities. The basis of the program is walking, talking and listening. Solas is at An tSean Bheairic, Falcarragh, and can be reached at 074 9165058 or

Jigsaw Donegal provides a free and confidential support service for young people aged 15 –25, with a drop-in centre on Pearse Road in Letterkenny. Jigsaw Donegal aims to make sure that young people’s voices are heard, and that they get the right support, where and when they need it. Jigsaw Donegal is a partnership between Jigsaw National, HSE and The Alcohol Forum. Jigsaw Donegal is at 074 97 26920 and

Worklink North West is a HSE Mental Health training and support service that enables people in recovery from mental ill health through training programmes and person-centred plans, to improve their confidence and self esteem, promote positive mental health and well-being and encourage community integration. Worklink NW has training centres in Letterkenny, Carndonagh and Dungloe and can be reached at 074 9128872 or by email at

The Good Morning Service is a free telephone link service to older people to promote health and well-being in the home. Older people receive a friendly telephone call on a regular basis from a local volunteer designed to ensure the person is safe and well,and to provide them with information on a range of local services and activities. There are five outreach centres in the Donegal.

Donegal Social Prescribing supports health and wellbeing by linking people with community-based activities, such as exercise, art, reading or gardening. Social Prescribing is for anyone who feels they need some help to mind their health and well-being, or if they feel isolated, stressed, anxious or depressed.
There are Facebook pages for each of the Social Prescribing programmes in the county: Social Prescribing Bunbeg and Derrybeg; Social Prescribing Project - Glenveagh; Social Prescribing Programme - Donegal town & Pettigo; Social Prescribing Inishowen; Social Prescribing - The Rosses & Fintown area; and Donegal Social Prescribing Ros Goill/Milford/Fanad.

Donegal Mind Wellness is a charity founded by Majella O'Donnell, in conjunction with volunteers and help from the HSE in Donegal. Donegal Mild Wellness aims to help people deal with the ups and downs of everyday life, which may lead to stress, anxiety and depression, by showing them ways of dealing with these problems. There is more on the Donegal Mind Wellness Facebook page.