Around 300 men of all ages converged on the Ulster American Folk Park to mark World Mental Health Day, the theme of which this year is Suicide Prevention.

The Healthy Living Centre Alliance teamed up with the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh to provide a variety of health promoting activities on Thursday, October 10.

They were joined by Pat McGibbon, former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer who has turned his talents towards helping young people with mental health resilience.

Tony Doherty, Regional Coordinator of the Healthy Living Centre Alliance, said: “Every 40 seconds someone loses their life to suicide somewhere in the world. The impact of suicide is devastating for friends, family and community.

“Men of all ages are particularly vulnerable. Therefore, we have decided to focus our endeavours on World Mental Health Day to promoting better mental health among men.”

Men travelled from Armagh, Derry, Castlederg, Lisnaskea, Irvinestown, Newry and Downpatrick on the day to take part in a range of mental health promoting activities including mindfulness, story-telling, drumming, food and mood workshop and Chi Me Gentle Movement.

Tony said before adding the role society has to play:

“We all have a role to play in encouraging better mental health in ourselves, among our families and our friends. Using the ‘Take Five’ approach is a simple but effective way to improve and maintain good mental health.”

The ‘Take Five’ approach includes ‘Take Notice’ – take to the natural environment and revel at the good things that your street, your community have to offer; ‘Be Active’ – get out when you can, join a club, walk instead of driving; ‘Connect’ – your social life with friends, family and neighbours is a vital aspect of your well-being; ‘Keep Learning’ – read, take up new hobbies, learn a new language - keeping your brain active and engaged and ‘Give’ – it’s not all about you! Give of your time; volunteer, respect people and help where you can.

On behalf of Action Mental Health, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council illuminated Enniskillen Castle and the Strule Arts Centre purple on October 10 for World Mental Health Day.