All posts by actionmentalhealth

Top Tips for Christmas

We took an express train to the North Pole last week to film our special Christmas video with corporate partner Danske Bank in Santa’s Grotto!

We all know that Christmas is a very special time of year, but for some, it can also be a really busy and stressful time.

So, with that in mind, AMH MensSana Project Worker, Hugh Roarty, was joined by five little helpers to offer the top tips to help you maintain good mental health over the festive season.

By following these simple steps, we can all make it a happier Christmas, for everyone.

you can download our Top Tips too!



Danske Bank’s top tips for budgeting at Christmas








Earlier this week, we published new research along with our corporate partner, Danske Bank that revealed one in three people in Northern Ireland will spend more than they can afford on Christmas this year. With gifts, food, decorations….it doesn’t take long for the costs of the festive season to add up, so Danske Bank has put together its top tips to help you budget.


  1. Work out what you can afford to spend

Whether you’ve been saving since last Christmas or are planning to put some money aside over the coming weeks, it’s a good idea to work out what you can afford to spend.


  1. Set your budget and prioritise

From the turkey dinner with all the trimmings to Christmas pyjamas for all the family, there are so many opportunities to spend money around the festive season. So before parting with your money, budget how much you can afford to spend and don’t be afraid to prioritise. This might mean asking yourself some tough questions like – do you really need a new Santa-themed duvet or will your pet really appreciate a Christmas gift? If you would like some help with this, then download our budget template here Danske Christmas Budgeting Template


  1. Make a Christmas gift list and check it twice

Christmas gift lists aren’t just for the kids. Make a list of everyone you would like to buy for, and then check it twice. In an ideal world, we would all like to buy gifts for everyone on our list but for most of us that’s just not possible. Suggesting doing a Secret Santa among a group of friends or family members can often be a good budget-saver.


  1. Get shopping savvy

Once you’ve decided who to buy for, work out what you think they might like and then do some online detective work. Browsing for deals and shopping around different retailers can often mean that you pick up what you want for less – especially true with Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner.


  1. Track your spending

At this time of year there are temptations all around us; from picking up an extra gift here or there to adding four boxes of luxury mince pies to the trolley. It doesn’t take long to overspend – even with a budget in place – so keep track of your spending as you go.


The important thing to remember is when to stop spending.  Just because you have set a budget doesn’t mean you have to spend it all.

Eating Disorder – Hope & Recovery Information Evening

AMH Adapt aims to promote and increase knowledge, and provide greater understanding and awareness of Eating Disorders in our community. 

We are delighted to be hosting, with the Southern Health Social Care Trust’s Eating Disorder team, what aims to be an uplifting and interactive evening for anyone affected by an Eating Disorder (including their family & friends).

Taking place on 30th November from 7pm – 9pm in the Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre in Armagh, you will hear from an inspirational guest speaker as she talks about her own recovery journey, followed by information on support services available in the Southern Trust Area, and a short interactive session on ways to promote good well-being and mental health.

If you would like any more information or to book a place please contact Vanessa – or 028 3839 2314.


Sean skydives for AMH Boost

Action Mental Health applauds Enniskillen man Sean Paul Curry, who in October faced his fears to raise funds for AMH Boost!

The Fermanagh man headed off to Australia to skydive in the picturesque Byron Bay area to raise cash for AMH’s Boost Programme in memory of his friend Shauna Reilly.

Sean’s feat of courage raised £655, well beyond his £500 target!!

Boost, which is designed for young people from 18-25 who are recovering from mental health challenges, helps them rebuild their confidence and develop new skills following periods of mental ill health.

Pioneering New Mental Health Initiative Unveiled


Picture L-R Stuart Crooks, 10, P7; Jaye Pollock, 9, P6; Kieran Mulvenna, principal Carrick Grammar; Dylan Sproule, 12, Y2; Sarah Boyd, 13, Y2; Jennifer Miller, principal, Carrick Model PS; Evie Coates, 9, P5 and Cameron Fitzgerald, 9 P5.

A pioneering new mental health initiative for young people and children as young as eight years of age up to 25 has been unveiled in response to the rising incidence of mental ill health issues among Northern Ireland’s younger generation.

The Northern Area Mental Health Initiative, supported through funding received from the Social Investment Fund under the NI Executive’s Delivering Social Change framework, was launched to equip children and young people with the resilience to handle periods of mental ill health one quarter of them are statistically likely to face.

The Northern Area Mental Health Initiative is an innovative and exciting new project led by Cookstown and Western Shores Area Network (CWSAN), in partnership with Action Mental Health and Nexus NI.

The Initiative will deliver free mental health awareness and resilience training, internet safety, sexual abuse and exploitation education for almost 6000 young people aged from 8 to 25 in schools, youth clubs and through key contacts.


The Initiative is to be funded by SIF for two years, until March 2019, and will be delivered across the Northern Social Investment Zone which broadly mirrors the Northern Health and Social Care Trust boundary.

Some 1700 Key Stage 2 children – from 8 to 11 year olds in Primary 5 to 7 will receive the ground-breaking training, while children at post primary level, approximately 2700 pupils aged 11 to 16 in years 8 to 12, will also undergo the programme. The unique training package will also be delivered to some 1380 teenagers from 16 years up to 25 through youthclub groups, parents and carers.

Elements of the training will include mental health awareness and resilience training; bespoke resilience workshops – like building resilience to cope with exam stress, self-esteem for the group; and education on sexual abuse and exploitation. This important element will be heavily targeted at the youngest group from 11 to 16, with 3940 of this age demographic participating in this programme.

The Initiative will target children and young people living in the Coleraine, Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, Ballymena, Antrim and Larne areas.

Dr Mark Browne of The Executive Office said:

“Communities across Northern Ireland are acutely aware of the challenges of mental health.  Unfortunately, too many people feel alone in dealing with the harsh reality and impacts of poor mental health.

“This important initiative funded by the Social Investment Fund will provide a range of information, support, training and signposting for a range of mental health and wellbeing support services for 8 to 25 year olds,” he added.

“The Social Investment Fund is designed to find local solutions to deliver real, long-lasting social benefits for those who need it most. I have no doubt this SIF project will make a massive difference to the local community and wish everyone involved every success in the delivery.”

Kieran Mulvenna, Principal of Carrickfergus Grammar School where The Initiative has already been introduced, said:

‘The current generation of young people are subject to unprecedented stresses which put their mental health, their happiness and their future life chances at greater risk than ever before.

“The inescapable pressure of social media, an examination system which is based on relentless assessment, and the resultant lack of personal space in which to process the challenges of growing up in the 21st Century have left our young people more vulnerable to mental health crises than their parents could ever have imagined.

“The most important benefit of initiatives such as this is the removal of stigma.  Mental health problems often evolve silently and we have found that educating pupils as to their causes and symptoms has allowed them to access support for themselves and, just as importantly, watch out for their friends more effectively.  Feedback from our pupils on these matters is very encouraging and they clearly welcome the emphasis that mental health now receives in schools.”

For more information please follow this link.

Christmas Concert in Enniskillen

Everyone will be given a very warm welcome this Christmas by the Rotary Club of Enniskillen at their Christmas Concert.  Taking place on 6th December this festive event will feature 3 choirs –  the Famous Sligo Gospel Choir and the Choirs of St Macartin’s and St Michael’s  – in not 1 but 2 venues!

The first half will take place in St Macartin’s Cathedral and the second half in St Michael’s Church!

Afterwards the audience will be treated to mulled wine and mince pies in the Cathedral Hall.

Donations on the night will  be in aid of Action Mental Health so put a note in your diary – we’d love to see you there!

Tickets are available at Grahams Menswear, St Macartin’s Cathedral Office or by contacting the following Rotarians:

Henry Robinson 07889033477

Ivan Kee 07768000167

Gordon Jackson 07779327045

Siobhan O’Reilly 07710975400

Helping Social Workers of the Future

Pictured Mary and Gary with Magee University Lecturer Cheryl McMullin

Many thanks and very well done to Mary and Gary from AMH New Horizons Foyle who volunteered to help out Social Work students from the Ulster University, Magee as part of their Preparation for Practice learning module.

Mary and Gary spent time with the students exploring their knowledge and experience of services, professionals and recounting their own personal journeys. They then took part in mock interviews so the students could develop their skills in a realistic professional environment.

AMH hopes this opportunity becomes an annual event to sit alongside our existing activities with UU which include the World Mental Health day conference, lecturing and accommodating student nurse placements and service visits.