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Lovers Of Watersports From NI Share Their Tips For Better Mental Health

11th October 2020
Al Mennie gets a tow-in to a big wave offshore Al Mennie gets a tow-in to a big wave offshore Photo: Al Mennie/Facebook

Northern Ireland surfer Al Mennie says conquering some of the world’s biggest waves has helped in managing his mental health.

In the run-up to World Mental Health Day yesterday, Saturday 10 October, Mennie told UTV News how his preparation for taking on the giant swells at Nazaré and other big wave spots as given him “a really good understanding of anxiety and fear”.

And he’s also benefitted from putting his thoughts and concerns into writing, even publishing a book about his experiences.

“So, for men who don’t want to talk, I think this is a good piece of advice — if you can write stuff down and get it out of your system, it’s a great way of dealing with whatever you’re going through.

“And that might actually open the door to you then going and speaking to somebody.”

Getting into the great outdoors has also been beneficial to Lydia Millar, a final-year law student at Queen’s University Belfast who joined her university’s sailing club in her second year to help in improving her wellbeing.

“Escaping the city and being thrown into a boat with likeminded people did, and continues to do, so much for my mental health,” she tells RYANI, adding that it not only gave her a new sense of community but also directed her focus “from inward to outward”.

This year’s World Mental Health Day also saw the launch of a live training package for seafarers whose wellbeing may be affected by the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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