“AWARE saved my life. I would encourage people with depression to attend a support group. It is imperative that we are all able to talk about our mental health.”
That’s the view one user of the support group service provided by AWARE, the charity that works exclusively for those experiencing depression and bipolar disorder.
The Carrickfergus support group, which recently moved to the Miskimmon suite in the Town Hall having previously been located in the library at Joymount, resumes after the Christmas break on January 14.
Running for over two years, it is one 23 groups in Northern Ireland, meets fortnightly and is facilitated by Jill and Lauren,
Lauren told the Times: “Our support group is a great opportunity to meet in a safe and relaxing environment and talk with people who support and can relate to what is happening with you.”
Other users of support groups have said this: “The greatest benefit is finding solutions together. Everyone is made to feel important.”
“This is the only place, outside my home where I feel safe to go to. This is the only place I feel comfortable attending. The group has helped me immensely”
The Christmas and New Year period can be a particularly difficult and challenging time for some people to get through and Aware is keen to highlight that it has a helpline that operates from 9.00am until 1.00pm. It provides a listening ear for people who are affected by depression. People affected by depression also include family, friends and carers. The number is 08451 20 29 61
Further initiatives in Carrickfergus include well being courses manage by AWARE’s Education and Training department.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a course that helps people provide aid to a person developing a mental health problem or who is in a mental health crisis. The aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves.
AWARE will be running a MHFA Course in the area in the new year and any enquiries for that contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Mood Matters gives participants knowledge and skills which can be used to maintain or regain good mental health and build resilience to deal with life’s challenges. The programme is based on cognitive behavioural concepts and introduces the ‘Five Areas Approach’ which participants use to challenge and change unhelpful thinking and behaviour in order to make a positive difference to their lives.
It also features the ‘Take5 for Your Emotional Wellbeing’ which, according to AWARE, focuses on the five most evidenced ways of looking after our mental health - “Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give” and teaches us how we can build these into our everyday lives.
AWARE will be running a Mood Matters for Adults course in Carrickfergus Library on January 20 at 5.45pm. It is free of charge. Contact Aine or Carole on 02890 357820 to book a place.
A range of information regarding depression and services is available on the charity’s website www.aware-ni.org