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Mental Health Awareness Week: AWARE urges people to ‘walk their way to a better mood'

St Mary’s University student, Emma Norris will be taking part in AWARE's Mood Walk 

Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017. Ahead of their annual Mood Walk events, AWARE - the national depression charity for Northern Ireland, is urging people to get out doors and enjoy some light exercise to help improve their overall mental health and wellbeing.

Light exercise is said to have a positive effect on a person’s mental wellbeing and helps reduce the risk of depression, stress and anxiety. When we exercise, the brain releases a hormone called ‘endorphins’ also known as ‘the happy hormone’ which is known to lift your mood and help make you feel good.

The AWARE Mood Walk is coming up in Belfast on Friday 16 June starting from the Mary Peters Track. The walk is a 5k or 10k walk designed to lift your mood. Taking in a range of beautiful sights around Barnett Demesne, Lagan Towpath and Queen’s University Playing fields.

Taking part in the AWARE Mood Walk is St Mary’s University student, Emma Norris. Emma from South Belfast suffered from depression and had to leave school for six weeks during her A Level exams to help aide her recovery. Last year, Emma completed the AWARE Mood Walk with 40 of her friends and family and is looking forward to doing it again this year with even more people.

“The AWARE Mood Walk is such an important event for me. Last year, 40 of my friends and family joined me on the Mood Walk to celebrate my 18th birthday. This was so important considering everything I had been through when I was trying to study and complete my A Level exams and deal with the devastating impact of depression.

“I hope to get even more people supporting #TeamEmma this year. Becoming involved in the Mood Walk sends out a clear message to people that depression is an illness that you can recover from – just like I did! The Mood Walk gives people the opportunity to show their support for people with depression across Northern Ireland.” 

Register for the AWARE Mood Walk at

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