Planting a pledge to talk

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is I-pledge-2-talk-006-1052x1024.jpg

Planting the seed in people’s minds to encourage them to talk about mental health was the task of the day for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority volunteers, staff and Eluned Morgan AM.

The Authority’s Craig y Nos Country Park pledged its support at the launch of the Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language’s campaign #IPledge2Talk. In a bid to encourage anyone suffering with mental health or emotional well-being, floral sprays emblazoning the #IPledge2Talk campaign hashtag will be popping up throughout the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park and other areas throughout Wales.

The Minister, along with representatives from The Samaritans, Ystradgynlais Mind and other mental health groups, visited the Country Park to plant the seeds which will bloom into a #IPledge2Talk floral spray to serve as a visual reminder that it is good to talk and gain support. A special plaque was also fitted to a communal bench by the Authority’s newest Get into the Bannau Brycheiniog trainee Anthony Hunt.

The Minister was fortunate to catch the Ystradgynlais Active Ageing group and enlist their support for #IPledge2Talk.

The Active Ageing projects is funded by Sports Wales and the National Park Authority. Participants who self-refer or are referred by the National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) meet in Hay-on-Wye, Abergavenny, Merthyr Tydfil and Craig y Nos to join the walk which is tailored to their needs.

She said: “Every suicide is a tragedy and it is important to remember that there are many suicide attempts for each death. The impact on families, friends and communities is devastating and far-reaching, even long after a life has been lost. The positive impacts of outdoor activity on mental health are well documented and it was great to meet the participants of the Active Ageing group and hear how the park’s programme has helped them overcome isolation and anxiety.

“An open approach to mental health is the best way to help prevent suicide and I hope that as many people as possible will be part of this conversation. It’s up to all of us to start talking – and to keep talking!  I’m extremely proud to launch this initiative at Craig y Nos and I am extremely grateful to the team here for their ongoing support!”

Authority Chief Executive Julian Atkins said the Authority actively promotes the mental health and emotional well-being benefits of getting out and about in the countryside and close to nature. 

“It’s at the core of what we do,” he said. “Supporting this campaign will bring the issue to the attentions of visitors to the National Park, local communities and our staff. We aim to work holistically with partners in the charity sector and health boards to develop projects such as the Active Ageing and Small Steps projects. Both these projects promote how accessible the National Park is via public transport for people with a range of physical, mental or emotional needs.

“By taking such small steps as planting floral sprays, huge leaps in raising awareness of mental health issues and ending stigma can be made.”