Soccer hero’s battle with depression inspires support for ‘Mood Walk’

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Ex-Derry City legend Liam Coyle has spoken of his personal experience of depression and urged people in Londonderry to support a fundraising ‘Mood Walk’ for a local support service that helps people who are feeling low.

He was speaking in advance of the inaugural fundraiser for Aware Defeat Depression; which will take place in Londonderry at 6.30pm on Friday, September 11.

Mr Coyle recently acknowledged he struggled with depression after sustaining a career-threatening injury weeks after he tormented Brazil and Benfica centre half Aldair, who was on his way to a 1990 European Cup final defeat against arguably the greatest ever club side, AC Milan.

He said: “I know first-hand the awful impact depression can have on people and their families. I want others out there who are going through similar experiences to know that help is available, from Aware and others.

“It’s really important that anyone going through depression or anxiety is able to reach out for support. It is not something that has to be endured alone.”

Another Derry City legend, Felix Healy, who famously replaced Martin O’Neill late in Northern Ireland’s clash with Honduras in Zaragoza during the World Cup in 1982 and, remarkably, won the league and cup with the Candystripes as both player and manager, is also supporting the initiative.

He said: “Aware Defeat Depression does amazing work for people affected by depression across Northern Ireland, and I am delighted to be helping with the inaugural Mood Walk.

“The beautiful riverside walk along the Foyle, taking in the Peace Bridge and the Foyle Bridge, is bound to help lift everyone’s mood. That is why I am signing up and encouraging everyone else to come and join us.”

Mr Coyle added: “Walking is one of the best ways to help boost your mood and your mental health. That is why the Aware Mood Walk is such an exciting and positive event.

“I encourage anyone who is interested in taking part, or in helping to raise awareness about mental health and depression, to sign up today. You will be making a very positive difference to the lives of people affected by depression, both here in Derry and across Northern Ireland.”

The event is being sponsored by First Source Solutions.

Grainne O’Kane, from First Source, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Mood Walk later this year and building our relationship with Aware Defeat Depression.

“As a responsible employer, we understand the importance of creating awareness and promoting a positive attitude to mental health in the workplace. With this charity we are working towards developing a number of initiatives so that we can help make a real difference for employees.”

Registration for Mood Walk is £10 and is open now. Participants will receive a Mood Walk pack – including a Mood Walk t-shirt. For more information and to register visit www.aware-ni.org/moodwalk or call 028 7126 0602.