Miss Londonderry backs depression cycle

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Miss Londonderry, Demi O’Hara, is urging people to join in a 416 mile cycle from Malin to Mizen to help raise awareness of the ongoing challenge faced by 1 in 4 people in Northern Ireland who suffer from depression.

The 416 mile journey takes place over 6 days (28 May-4 June 2016) and begins at the most northerly point of Ireland, Malin Head and ends in the most southerly point, Mizen Head.

It’s been organised by leading depression and mental health charity, Aware, to coincide with its 20th anniversary.

Aware Fundraising Manager Teresa Sloan has full confidence that participants will be eager to sign up.

She says: “We want to go big to celebrate our 20th anniversary and the Malin to Mizen cycle is definitely a big challenge and one to tick off the bucket list.

“Regular cyclists will love this route, as they will be travelling between 30-85 miles per day across some beautiful landscape.

“We do suggest some level of fitness to keep up with the rest of the group, but there is about 8 months to train.

“Funds raised from the cycle will go towards Aware’s education and support programmes, so we are encouraging participants to sign up now to set themselves a personal goal, as well as knowing they are directly helping someone else who is in need of support.”

The cost of the cycle will be covered as will all accommodation and food for the duration of the trip. Minimum sponsorship is required and participants can register for fundraising packs at www.aware-ni.org/malintomizen or by calling 02890 357820.

Depression is recognised as a condition affecting many people across Londonderry and the wider North West geographical area.

High rates of prescription drugs use have persisted here, for example.

Whilst such drugs have been proven to be successful in the treatment of depression the Western Trust has announced it wants to provide more talking therapy options for people living with the condition.

Last week this paper reported that the Western Trust was recruiting staff for two talking therapy hubs to try to wean Londonderry and the authority’s southern jurisdiction off anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication.

The Part-time Health Minister Simon Hamilton confirmed the Trust was setting up the hubs, which will offer counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, group therapy and other alternatives to drugs treatments for people suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.