Peadar McDaid at the end of his eight-day walk, as he is welcomed home by Donegal County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Terence Slowey, and supporters on Wednesday evening. Photo Brian McDaid
A crowd gathered at the ArtCo Gallery in Letterkenny yesterday afternoon to welcome Peadar McDaid, as he concluded a 241km walk that began last Wednesday in Donegal town.
"We got the message across: It’s important for people to look after their mental health and to be aware of the services available for them,” Peadar said, speaking from the gallery, where he was surrounded by well-wishers.
Colin McCann, HSE business manager for mental health services for Donegal; and Donegal County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Terence Slowey, were among those at the gallery to welcome him.
The council Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Terence Slowey, greets Peadar as he arrives at the ArtCo Gallery in Letterkenny at the end of his eight-day walk. Photo: Brian McDaid.
Colin said Peadar had raised awareness of available supports and encouraged people not to shy away from seeking help, calling Peadar’s awareness-raising work “magnificent”.
“There’s a nice crowd here today, everybody wishing him well, and so many people have joined him along the way,” Colin said. He said some accompanied Peadar for just a few hundred yards of the journey, and said, “every little helps”.
The Letterkenny artist’s eight-day Mental Health Awareness Walk has taken him from Donegal town to Glenties, Dungloe, Gortahork, Fanad Lighthouse, Ballygorman, Carndonagh, Moville, Burt and Letterkenny, with groups and individuals accompanying him on parts of the trek.
The Falcarragh-based Solas, an HSE programme to involve people in outdoor activities, met Peadar at Manorcunningham to accompany him into the town, where they were joined for the rest of the walk by staff of Grow, who hold free mental health support meetings; and service users at Worklink North West.
Well-wishers gathered at the ArtCo Gallery in Letterkenny on Wednesday afternoon to welcome Peadar at the end of his Mental Health Awareness Walk. Photo: Brian McDaid.
Peadar thanked everyone who has helped. He was also grateful to people who beeped the horn or gave a wave when they saw him.
Those gestures, “give you that wee boost to get the foot down and keep moving," said Peadar, an arts tutor with the Mental Health Services at Create-A-Link Art Studio.
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, www.grow.ie.
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 www.solasdonegal.org.
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 www.jigsaw.ie
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.