Walking and talking – Series of events focus on mental health and wellbeing

A series of events to encourage and support positive mental health will take place in the dioceses this spring. Organised by the Revd Garth Bunting, Rural Dean of St Mary and Canon Lesley Robinson, Rural Dean of Fingal, the events are part of the Church of Ireland’s MindMatters project.


Free talks, entitled ‘What is Mental Ill-Health? Signs, symptoms and what to do about them’, will take place in each Rural Deanery. The first, on Wednesday February 8 at 8pm, will take place in St John the Baptist Parish Centre, Seafield Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3. The second will be on Friday March 10 at 8pm in Castleknock Parish Centre, Castleknock Road, Dublin 15. The speaker will be Cariosa Walsh, ICP accredited individual and group therapist and the talks are aimed at resourcing those struggling with their own mental health or who are supporting others who are.


Walks of Wellbeing – gentle guided walks with a focus on friendship and mindfulness, will take place in three different locations in April and May. On Sunday April 2 the Revd David White will lead a walk in St Anne’s Park in Raheny (meet at the Red Stables) from 3pm to 5pm. On Sunday May 7 the Revd Ruth Noble will lead a walk in the Phoenix Park (meet at the Papal Cross) from 3pm to 5pm. On Saturday May 27 the Revd Brian O’Reilly will lead a walk in Glendalough (meet at St John’s Church, Laragh) from 11am to 4pm. Walkers in Glendalough are asked to bring water and a packed lunch.


Canon Lesley Robinson has encouraged people to come along and spread the word about the events. “The Mind Matters project is a great opportunity for us in the Church to reach out to those who may be struggling with their mental health, supporting others who are, or just conscious about the need to protect it. I was delighted when the Revd Garth Bunting approached me about organising some joint events in our Rural Deaneries and hope they will be of benefit to many people,” she commented.


The Revd Garth Bunting added: “I’m especially looking forward to the walks we have planned. The idea of combining exercise, promoting friendship and taking pauses to reflect and pray, seems to me to be like little pilgrimages or caminos right on our doorstep. And they help promote mental health.”


“I have benefitted personally from seeking out help with my mental health. About 15 years ago I went to see my GP about feeling down. I was diagnosed with depression. My GP set me on a journey to improve my mental health and psychotherapy has been at the core of that. Today, I manage my mental wellbeing in a much better way, and know quickly when I need to give it more attention,” he added.


For more information on any of these events contact 086-0386415/087-9091561.