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Mountain a Month for Mental Health Movement

Martin Leonard and the Mountain a Month for Mental Health team on one of their hikes

Mountain a Month for Mental Health Movement

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Sinead Fitzgibbon

Mountain a Month for Mental Health is a non-profit organisation whose sole purpose is to promote good mental health through hiking, mountain climbing and becoming part of a well-organised team event. Hikes are run monthly where you can join the team and wander where the WiFi is weak! They will provide all hikers with refreshments, knowledge of hiking equipment, mental health tips and a sense of achievement.

Limerick man, Martin Leonard set up Mountain a Month for Mental Health a couple of years ago following years of his own battle with mental health. Martin told ilovelimerick why he created Mountain a Month for Mental Health, ‘I am a very proud Limerick man who is trying to change the stigma surrounding Mental Health. It is a big problem in Limerick and nationwide and I am on a mission to change that. This will only be achieved if people finally stand up and be counted. “It’s OK to not feel OK”. This is something I am teaching my kids and hope that the next generation will have a better platform for mental health awareness than the one that is in place now.’

mountain a month for mental health

Left to Right, Alan O’Shaughnessy, Guide, Michael Leonard Guide, Martin’s brother and Martin Leonard, the founder of mountain a month for mental health.

Martin wants to stamp out the stigma surrounding mental health. He said ‘Mental Health and Mental Illness are two separate issues. If you don’t look after your Mental Health, it can make you ill too!’ Martin recognized the amount of attention physical health gets and asks ‘why should we not do something to stay mentally fit?’ Mountain a Month for Mental Health are running events off donations from hikers and support from local businesses, including Outdoor Adventure Store and Optel Groups.

Martin is very passionate about raising awareness around mental health and is determined to spread the word by getting schools involved in Mountain a Month for Mental Health. Martin wants to teach both the teachers and students about mental health awareness and the benefits of mental fitness. Martin said, ‘we want you to start being a bit kinder to yourself and doing something for your body and soul.’ Martin said his main goal is ‘to run these events more frequently, in turn giving the community a better platform to help get mentally fit.’

Martin is running monthly hikes around Ireland for Mental Health Awareness. Martin said, ‘hiking in nature has an amazing ability to help de-stress, realign the mind and re-focus the brain. “I absolutely love mountains. They make you realise how tiny your problems really are”.’ Mountain a Month for Mental Health is heading out for their second year starting April 20, where Martin and the team will hike up Moyluffa in Killaloe.

Martin simply said ‘My name is Martin Leonard and I want to stop the stigma surrounding Mental Health. Happy hiking!’ So what are you waiting for? Join Martin and the team of Mountain a Month for Mental Health movement, which is also free! Martin has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise the cash needed for people to take part.

For more information visit the GoFundMe page here

For more stories on mental health go here

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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