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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Even if I stumble I’m still moving forward – Ballymena man steps out in fight against depression

A Ballymena man who is set to participate in a half marathon coastal walk organised by local mental health charity, AWARE, says it's his personal experience of depression that has inspired him to help others.


Harry Armstrong is encouraging others to join the event (AWARE's Giant Steps) along the Causeway Coast on Saturday, 15 October, to raise funds to support local people living with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.


As an AWARE Service User, Harry's personal experience of depression and the charity's services inspires his determination to promote positive mental health in Northern Ireland:


"I've struggled with depression and anxiety for many years - it came and went until the relapses became more regular and more severe. A few years ago, things got on top of me. There were days when my mood was extremely low, and I just didn't want to get out of bed.


"I reached my breaking point and spoke to my GP. I was prescribed medication, received counselling and started to attend a local AWARE Support Group. Meeting other people in a similar situation made me realise I wasn't alone in my struggle. People were supportive and could put into words the thoughts and feelings that I found difficult to describe. 


"Although the recovery process has felt slow, the important thing for me is that I'm on the recovery journey. Even if I stumble, I'm still moving forward."


Notably, joining a walking group has also played a vital part in Harry's recovery. He urges everyone to come along to AWARE's Giant Steps to reap the benefits of walking whilst fundraising for much-needed services: 


"The most important thing was getting out of the house, not looking at the four walls. Getting out into the fresh air and being active helps me feel good. I've also connected with people through walking, made new friends and widened my social circle.


"By getting involved in AWARE's Giant Steps, you will not only be doing something positive for your own mental health but helping AWARE to support others with theirs too."


Pictured: Harry and some his walking group at Elephant Rock on a practice walk along the AWARE’s Giant Steps’ route

Bridie Kelly, Community Fundraising Officer at AWARE, added: 


"With 1 in 5 people in Northern Ireland being affected by mental illness at some stage of their life, Harry's story is unfortunately all too common. At AWARE, our support services can help people to manage their depression or anxiety and start their journey toward better mental health.


"By taking part in AWARE's Giant Steps, you'll not only get the chance to walk the iconic North Coast with mind-blowing views of sea cliffs, white sand beaches and crashing waves beneath you, but you'll also meet new people who enjoy walking and fundraise to support others who may be struggling. We hope to see you there!"


AWARE's causeway coastal half marathon walk, 'Giant Steps', will bring you along the waymarked paths of the spectacular Causeway Coastline from Carrick-a-rede to Portballintrae before celebrating your accomplishment at the finish line with a burger and beer (or soft drink).


To find out more and register (tickets £35), please visit or email


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