In a world that seems to be spinning faster by the day mental health is one of the most obvious casualties with one in four people experiencing mental health difficulties.
Ahead of World Mental Health Day on Saturday and coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week, Ireland’s only all-digital pop-up radio station, Walk In My Shoes, is encouraging listeners to become involved in the debate around positive mental health.
Founded in 2012 Walk In My Shoes is the only pop-up radio station dedicated to promoting mental health in Ireland. The station has a fundraising target of €10,000 during its week on air which will fund free therapy sessions for 100 young people around Ireland.
Mental health advocates have been taking to the airwaves all week sharing their stories of support and recovery.
International Irish model Alison Canavan has been an ambassador for Walk In My Shoes since it began in 2012.
Ms Canavan, who has openly struggled with depression and anxiety, said taking action early by seeking support and professional advice to deal with mental health issues is vital.
“I struggled through my teens, I struggled through my 20s and I know what it’s like to be there. This is probably one of the most important charities and campaigns because it’s about informing people, educating people and giving them an opportunity to talk about how they might be feeling,” she said.
RTÉ radio presenter Shay Byrne has also been involved with Walk In My Shoes for the past three years.
Ms Canavan and Mr Byrne agree that destigmatising mental health is important.
“Radio is a fantastic medium to reach people. We may not be reaching the service users themselves during the day, they might be in college or at work but we’re going to reach their parents or their support networks or their carers and the more we put the message out there and the more we talk about it the more normal it becomes and it just becomes a part of everyday life,” Mr Byrne said.
Mr Byrne said mental health illness is much more prevalent in our society and the importance of charities such as Walk In My Shoes cannot be underestimated.
“There are huge gaps in the services provided by the Government and charities like Walk In My Shoes try to fill those gaps as best they can.”
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