Mountain a Month for Mental Health has had great success this summer in gaining support and increasing its numbers, attracting over 160 people in their first hike this summer.
PHOTOS – Mountain a Month for Mental Health Movement continues to raise awareness across Limerick
by ilovelimerick correspondent Conor Owens.
The Mountain a Month for Mental Health movement has had great success this summer in gaining support and increasing its numbers. The non-profit organisation, whose sole purpose is to promote good mental health through hiking, mountain climbing and becoming part of a well-organised team, managed to attract over 160 people in their first hike this summer.
Mountain a Month for Mental Health run hikes every month where you can join the team and wander where the WiFi is weak! They provide all hikers with refreshments, knowledge of hiking equipment, mental health tips and a sense of achievement.
The team of guides help create a relaxed and supportive environment so you don’t have to worry about the journey. They recon every hike so they have good knowledge of the route, leaving you free to concentrate on clearing the head and being happy
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 said “Since we started back in April, we had no idea how our campaign would go. Our 1st hike was Moylussa in Killaloe. The response was unbelievable. Our 1st hike of 80 people filled up in 2 hours. In fact, the demand was so big we put on an afternoon hike and over the course of the day, we brought 160 people up and down Moylussa. Our most recent hike of the Old Bog Road in Killarney filled up in 55min. That’s 80 people in 55min!”
“People are really stepping up and becoming part of our campaign. We all understand the stigma surrounding mental health and why not tackle this issue by getting out and having fun. It’s all about becoming Mentally Fit so we don’t become mentally ill.”
Martin wants to stamp out the stigma surrounding mental health, and has seen great results from those who participate in the organisation. Martin said, “From the feedback we have received, I can very proudly say that our events and hikes have not only changed people’s lives but have changed my life. It has been the most fulfilling journey I have ever been on.
We encourage every hiker to let go of any issues or problems they have and for the duration for the hike, be as present as possible and let the mountain and the strangers you meet do the rest. Everyone you meet has something to teach you. The hardest part of your day will be getting out of bed. Mountains have an amazing ability to highlight how small your problems really are.
The people who have taken part in our events have really embraced the concept of hike more and worry less”.
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 aims to teach both the teachers and students about mental health awareness and the benefits of mental fitness.
Martin has big plans for the future of the organisation, saying “Mountain A Month For Mental Health has grown from strength to strength over the past few months and we aim to become even bigger.
We still have 2 hikes left in this series and are happy to announce that we are rolling out a winter series where we will be hitting the trails in all weather conditions. We may even have a Christmas hike, Santa hats and all.
My vision for the future is growing our campaign with new and more frequent events. We are looking at hiking retreat weekends, family hiking days out, harder challenges for the more adventurous and much much more. The possibilities are endless. The amazing support we have received from all the hikers to date has given our campaign a strong platform to change the negative stigma surrounding mental health.
Its time to create a greater mental fitness environment where we can all take comfort in the fact that it’s ok to not feel ok and we will be there to help.”
To get in contact with the Mountain a Month for Mental Health team, you can email [email protected]
For more information visit the GoFundMe page here
For more stories on mental health go here