Dowds Group take on Slieve Donard for World Mental Health Day!

Today we celebrate World Mental Health Day! This is an opportunity for us all to raise awareness of mental ill-health and advocate against the stigma that continues to surround this issue.

This stigma can inhibit people from seeking the help they need and subsequently delay their treatment. Poor mental health can isolate people and prevent them from carrying out their day-to-day activities,maintaining relationships with friends and family as well as possibly hampering their ability to hold down a job. By addressing how we think and act about mental health, we can seek to support people to avoid reaching a crisis situation.

Here at Dowds Group, our people are at the centre of everything we do and so we strive to make our employees’mental well being as important a focus as their physical health. With a third of our lives spent at work, we want to ensure that our staff are taking important small steps to aid their mental well being.

“World Mental Health Day celebrates awareness for the global community in an empathetic way, with a unifying voice, helping those feel hopeful by empowering them to take action and to create lasting change.”  – World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH)

Our “40 for Forty” Legacy event this year was to trek up and down Slieve Donard in Newcastle, Co. Down, the highest peak (850m) in Northern Ireland, in partnership with AWARE NI. This trek was being held in celebration of World Mental Health Day. There were 78 participants in total, 21 being Dowds Group employees along with their family and friends.

Slieve Donard Trek

6:00am was an early start on Saturday morning for everyone to make their way to Newcastle. After registration and our safety briefing on arrival,we all set off up the mountain with the weather on our side. We trekked upwards through old woodland of Scots Pine, Oak and Birch alongside the Glen River until we reached the gate and stile. We continued to trek for another 2kms heading towards the saddle between Donard and Commedagh. When we reached the Mourne wall the mist descended and before long the wind and rain. This was the toughest part, “just another 10 minutes, just another 10 minutes” we kept being told. Finally, we reached the top and although we didn’t get a picturesque view, the huge sense of achievement was very evident amongst all those there. A brisk stop at the top for a photo and we made our way back down to the saddle where we had a quick bite to eat before heading for the bottom. The weather became wetter which made the terrain more difficult underfoot, but the bottom of the mountain grew closer and closer as the minutes ticked on. We were greeted at the bottom by the AWARE NI team who presented us with medals and pointed us in the direction of the soup and sandwiches.

This was a day enjoyed by all at Dowds Group who took part and to top it all off we have raised over a fantastic £3000 for AWARE NI. We want to thank everyone who has donated so far and as we are still receiving donations,it isn’t too late to donate.

A short note to finish – in the UK, the average person says they are fine 14 times a day in response to a question, Feelings Inside Not Expressed. So, by asking the person twice, we can express our genuine concern in hearing what they have to say and allow them the opportunity to say how they are really feeling. You don’t have to bean expert in mental health to listen to someone, we don’t have to feel afraid because we don’t have all the answers, we simply need to listen, provide support and be a friend.