The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland held it’s second annual Walk and Talk with Psychiatrists in Merrion Square on the 21st May as part of Green Ribbon month. The walk is in partnership with See Change, the National Stigma Reduction Partnership, and is an important step in challenging the stigma associated with mental illness and psychiatry. The walk is about getting outdoors to promote wellness and activity. It was also a chance for service users, carers and mental health professionals to mix in an informal, welcoming, supportive and social atmosphere to discuss psychiatry in an outdoor setting.
Consultant psychiatrist and director of communication and public education at the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, Dr John Hillery said:
There is a growing movement in all areas of Irish life, including among public figures, that supports openness and thus decreases stigma. More needs to be done as regards early education on resilience and minding mental health in schools.
I want people to understand how psychiatrists have a good understanding of everyday stress, and the value for individuals in building up resilience or mental fitness, for benefits to both physical and mental health.
There are a lot of myths out there about psychiatrists and we need to move away from the ‘headshrink’ persona so that if people ever do need us, they’re not afraid to come and see us to get some help.
After the walk, attendees returned to the College building on Herbert street for refreshments and discussion on what they heard.