MENTAL Health Supports in Donegal have been highlighted ahead of World Mental Health Day which takes place on October 10th.
A number of services available to empower people to look after their own mental health and provide support to others are now in operation across Donegal.
These include the Exercise physiology service, Wellness Cafes, the Woodlands for Wellbeing Project and the Adoption of telehealth.
The Donegal Alcohol and Drug service has welcomed the addition of a new initiative, the Exercise Physiology Service.
The service introduces an exercise professional coupled with mental health nursing expertise, into treatment options as part of the recovery pathway.
Emphasis is placed on individual lifestyle modification changes that are realistic, achievable and sustainable.
Results include mood improvement, reduced cravings, improved sleep and hygiene and smoking cessation. It results in an overall improved quality of life.
Clinical Nurse Manager for Donegal Alcohol & Drugs Service Cora McAleer said: “we are delighted how the programme is going, it is well known how important physical activity is for our physical health, what we need to keep enforcing is the importance of physical activity to our mental health and how vital it is in recovering from alcohol and drugs”.
As part of World Mental Day, members of the public are welcome to come along to Letterkenny Shopping Centre on Friday 8 October from 12pm to 3pm and meet Keane Ryan, a registered nurse in Donegal Mental Health Services team, who will give with a talk and taster of the new Donegal Exercise Physiology Service.
A service user said: “I found the service helped me focus on having a positive lifestyle which helped me stay away from drugs
Another initiative running in conjunction with World Mental Health Day was the launch of a further ten Wellness cafes. The first Wellness Café was launched in Letterkenny in September 2019 as a joint venture between the Donegal Mental Health Service and people with lived experience.
Running every Thursday in An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny, the café offers people a comfortable space to meet up, have a cup of tea and a chat.
Through interaction people find out what they need to know, get the opportunity to learn from others with lived experience, have some fun, develop friendships and discover what is happening in their local community.
On attendee of the café described it as ‘A time to chat. A feeling of welcome and acceptance. A level playing field, staff to participants. A time to be listened to. A time to recharge and reenergise’.
Another initiative is the Woodlands for Wellbeing Project 2021.
The Donegal Mental Health Service engaged with the Donegal Sports Partnership to deliver woodlands walks primarily for people with lived experience. This 12week project started in August 2021 and was piloted in the Finn Valley area. The walks are based at Drumboe Woods, Stranorlar and are led by experienced walk leaders who share their knowledge about the environment, nature, history of the forest, and the benefits of walking and exercise. They also introduced the participants to Mindfulness and how to maintain Mental Health wellbeing. Refreshments are provided at each walk. Participants walked and talked and developed friendships which have now developed to smaller groups meeting up at weekends to explore other walks and places of interest in Donegal. The project has now extended to the Inishowen area were referrals are being sought to start a 12 week programme in October 2021. A participant of the walk said “We all walk and talk. The staff put a lot of work in to keep this going”.
World Mental Health Day takes place on Sunday October 10th.
For more information on Donegal Mental Health Service initiatives log on to: