The event will take place on Monday, January 23 at 6.30pm in the Lodge Hotel and will raise awareness of the mental health issues being faced by people in the local community as well as the support services available.
Speakers will include representatives from AWARE and Causeway GP Federation as well as the Royal College of Psychiatrists and local people with lived experience of depression and anxiety.
Rhonda Murphy, Head of Support Services at AWARE, said: “We’re looking forward to hosting an important evening to shine a light on depression and its impact on our community. Any of us can experience mental health issues at any time, and depression is a very common issue in Northern Ireland. Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders are very treatable. There is no shame in saying you’re struggling.”
Jarlath McCreanor is a long-standing AWARE volunteer. He facilitates a weekly peer support group for depression and anxiety as well as attending another local group. He said: “We’re hoping this event will reassure people who might be experiencing low mood, anxiety or depression that there is hope and help available. We’ll be highlighting the power of talking and peer support and encouraging people to come along to AWARE’s group in Coleraine.
"I’ve been attending the groups for years to manage my depression and I have seen first-hand that they really work. They create a community of people who understand each other and have somewhere to really be themselves.”
Jane Reynolds, Primary Care Mental Health Lead for Causeway GP Federation, says she is delighted that the Federation are able to work so closely with their colleagues at AWARE to highlight the mental health support available locally across the area.
“With 40% of people attending GP consultations presenting with some form of mental health difficulty, it is vitally important that we help our local population to be more mindful of their own mental health self-care and to access appropriate support when they need to. Our Senior Mental Health Practitioners are available in local GP surgeries for anyone who feels they need specialist advice and intervention.
"We hope that people will feel that they can attend this event, in the knowledge that they will be treated with dignity and respect and that it will be a safe space for them to learn more about staying mentally well.”
Established in 1996, AWARE has a large network of peer-led support groups run by a team of trained volunteers. Support groups welcome people experiencing mental ill-health and offer them a safe space to open up and be around others who understand them. AWARE NI delivers mental health and well-being programmes into communities, schools, universities and workplaces, teaching attendees techniques to look after their own mental health and well-being.
The event in the Lodge Hotel is free of charge, anyone is welcome to attend, and refreshments will be provided. Please register your attendance by emailing [email protected] or visiting https://www.northernfsu.co.uk/event-details/causeway-federation-aware-ni-public-event