All posts by actionmentalhealth

We are Golden!

AMH was at Belfast Castle recently celebrating and accepting the prestigious Investors in People Gold Award.

John Davis and Maria McVeigh collect our IiP award

Action Mental Health achieved the Investor in People Standard in 2000, the first mental health organisation in Northern Ireland to meet the grade and continue to date to use the IiP framework as a global benchmark of excellence.

Theresa McDermott, Director of Investors in People Northern Ireland commented,

“organisations achieving the Gold Standard IiP Generation 6 perform at an advanced level.  Their principles and practices drive positive outcomes which contribute to achieving the organisation ambition.”

Chief Executive David Babington agreed,

“Action Mental Health is committed to the high standards of the Investors in People Standard.  We are proud to be the first organisation in the Voluntary and Community Sector to also achieve the Health & Wellbeing award (IiP Generation 6).  AMH leads the way in ensuring the AMH team can perform at their peak, both physically and psychologically”.

Businesses converge on Stormont for World Mental Health Day

A diverse range of businesses converged on Stormont on Tuesday, October 10 to mark World Mental Health Day which this year places a special focus on ‘Mental Health in the Workplace’.

Local companies from the public and private sectors, from banks, to food producers met for a Business Breakfast to celebrate efforts to promote healthy and resilient workplaces with Action Mental Health (AMH) and the AMH Belfast Employers’ Forum

The theme of this year’s event, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, was addressed by The Equality Commission and the Labour Relations Agency, addressing the importance of the Mental Health Charter and its relevance to the workplace.

The Mental Health Charter encourages business to adopt best practice in the workplace based on five commitments, chief among them to create a workplace culture which respects those with mental ill health and to promote equality of opportunity for those with mental ill health.

The event, was hosted by Kellie Armstrong, Alliance Party MLA for Strangford.  As participants attended the early morning event, Stormont was shining a light on World Mental Health Day by being illuminated in purple, setting the example for a number of other civic buildings across Northern Ireland also going purple for the event.

David Babington, chief executive of Action Mental Health commented: “As we mark World Mental Health Day, with its particular focus on ‘Mental Health in the Workplace’, there is a raft of startling and alarming statistics which clearly underline the need for events like these – and the need for businesses to sign up to the Mental Health Charter.

A number of organisations marked the special occasion by signing up to the Mental Health Charter including the Labour Relations Agency, the CBI, Telestack and Mercer.

CBI director Angela McGowan said: “The CBI hopes to lead the way in encouraging other local businesses, which have yet to sign up to the Mental Health Charter, to consider adopting its ideals.

“By embracing its five commitments we can all help create more positive and tolerant workplaces for those living with mental

ill health.”




Granite Challenge – Conquered!

On Sunday 8th October , cycling enthusiasts were once again invited to put their endurance to the test by competing in the annual Granite Challenge event to help raise funds for Action Mental Health (AMH). Hundreds and hundreds of cyclists arrived in Downpatrick early to take on the 55 mile long distance cycle and raise vital funds for the charity’s Men’s Shed project, a support network for men aged 50 and over.


Back for its sixth year running, the event was supported by a Lanterne Rouge Cycling Club, White’s Oats, McConvey Cycles and Rapid Relief Team.

Following a nutritious bowl of White’s Oats porridge and tea and coffee at registration – the cyclists got their wheels spinning at the starting line at AMH’s New Horizons Service in Downpatrick and followed a route that took in the scenic surroundings of Tyrella, Newcastle, the Mournes and Silent Valley before returning via Bryansford, Maghera and Clough.  The now famous tea stop at the top of Spelga was a welcome sight as were the hundreds of traybakes baked by our very own Shedders!  Then it was off again, back to Downpatrick, for a bowl of homemade soup and a well earned rest!

A grand day out was had by all – we would like to send thanks to everyone who took part, and to our wonderful army of volunteers. Well done everyone!  There’s lots of photos on our facebook page!


Rotary Club in Enniskillen generates big boost for AMH Boost

AMH Enniskillen Service Manager Caroline Ferguson with local Rotary Club President Henry Robinson and AMH’s Sean Connolly.

The Rotary Club of Enniskillen ran a very successful coffee and information morning in aid of Action Mental Health (AMH) in the Cathedral Hall on Saturday, October 7.  A steady stream of visitors called in to enjoy a cuppa and learn something of the work being undertaken at the AMH New Horizons Centre at Drumcoo. An amazing £2800 has been raised to date. Caroline Ferguson from Action Mental Health commented: “We are constantly overwhelmed at the generosity of local people and Saturday was no different. The funds raised will be used locally in Fermanagh to help young people living with mental ill-health.”

Henry Robinson, from The Rotary Club, has chosen to support Action Mental Health during his year as President. They are fundraising for a dedicated project aimed at supporting young people aged 16-25. The proposed project is to provide a purpose built room for the young people who attend the Boost Programme at AMH.

Boost is aimed at 16 to 25 year olds who are concerned about their mental and emotional well-being. It provides a programme of positive steps and personal development to help them get back on track. At present there is no dedicated space for the programme.

The new room at the Drumcoo centre will give them the space and freedom to discuss and address mental health issues, which for many people, remain taboo. Boost provides opportunities for self-discovery, helping young people regain confidence, have fun and make new friends. The programme combines training, personal development and activities, to help build resilience and promote positive coping techniques alongside other young people facing similar challenges.

Henry said: “We are delighted at the response we received on Saturday, it is a great start to our year of fundraising for AMH and on behalf of everyone at the Club and at AMH, a massive thank you to the people of Fermanagh for their generous support.

“Good mental health is something we all need to consider and the work that AMH does with our young people is absolutely vital. I hope that others will join us in supporting their work.”


Cyclists Gear Up For The Sixth Annual Ultimate Granite Challenge

Action Mental Health is working in tandem with Northern Ireland’s growing league of lycra lovers to raise funds for its vital Men’s Shed project in Downpatrick at this year’s AMH Granite Challenge, on Sunday, October 8. Pictured with Lanterne Rouge cyclist Peter Bohill (right) are AMH’s Gavin McConvey (centre) and Men’s ‘shedder’, Noel Walsh.

Cycling enthusiasts are invited to put their endurance to the test by competing in the annual Granite Challenge event to help raise funds for Action Mental Health (AMH).

The 55-mile long distance cycle takes place on Sunday, October 8, and is being staged to raise vital funds for the charity’s Men’s Shed project in Downpatrick, a support network for men aged 50 and over.

The Men’s Shed, with three units, in Downpatrick, Antrim and Fermanagh, provides a relaxed and friendly environment where men can build new friendships while sharing skills and learning new ones.

Men’s Shed brings together men to work on practical activities of their choice, at their own pace, while having a laugh and a cup of tea. Activities include horticulture, joinery, photography, arts and crafts, IT and cooking – every Men’s Shed is led by the needs and skills of its ‘shedders’.

The event comes just two days ahead of World Mental Health Day when Action Mental Health will host a variety of events across its services to mark the annual day when mental health issues come into focus.

Back for its sixth year running, the event is being supported by a number of local businesses including North Down Physio and Sports Injury Clinic, Lanterne Rouge Cycling Club, White’s Oats, McConvey Cycles and Rapid Relief Team.

Following a nutritious bowl of White’s Oats porridge at registration – at the start of the race at AMH’s New Horizons Service in Downpatrick, cyclists will get their wheels spinning at the starting line at AMH’s New Horizons Service in Downpatrick and follow a route that takes in the scenic surroundings of Tyrella, Newcastle, the Mournes and Silent Valley before returning via Bryansford, Maghera and Clough.

Chief Executive of Action Mental Health, David Babington said physical activity plays a huge role in keep our minds healthy as well as our bodies.

“With as many as one in five people in Northern Ireland experiencing mental ill-health at some stage in their life, it’s important to remember that simple things such as cycling to work or walking the dog can really help to reduce stress and clear the mind.

“As World Mental Health Day approaches we couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute other than hosting a large scale sporting event that unites the community in a show of support for those impacted by mental illness.

“We’re always really excited to host our annual Granite Challenge, which over the years has proved hugely popular with local cycling clubs and individuals alike. Each year the number of cyclists continues to grow, so we are very much looking forward to participating and sharing in what is sure to be another highly motivating experience for all involved.”

Food and refreshments will be provided for on the day, with the added benefit of a soothing sports massage at the finish line for competitors, kindly provided by North Down Physio and Sports Injury Clinic.

Entrance fee is £20 which includes a tea stop at Spelga Dam where delicious tray bakes and sweet treats will be provided.

Spaces are limited so register your interest now by clicking on

100% satisfaction in Fermanagh

We asked clients in AMH New Horizons Fermanagh recently what they think of the service.

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive with 100% of respondents saying they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of service.

There was lots of great comments including this one!

“Amh has been a great service to me. I love it and love all that is going on in and around the service. The staff are very helpful and I would recommend it to other people”

If you want to see more of AMH New Horizons in Fermanagh, check out our recent BBC film :

BBC NI Broadcast Appeals

AMH New Horizons Working it Out project is part funded by the NI European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Martin’s Story

L-R – Peter Carson Contracts Manager, Martin Singh Labourer, Fintan McMullan Managing Director

Since leaving school many years ago I had always been in paid work such as factory operative, general labouring and driving. This gave me a routine, structure and most of all a salary.  I was a keen sportsman too and played football and gaelic for my local club.

However over the years my physical health deteriorated and I had to have a double hip replacement. This meant I could no longer work and due to slow recovery I was spending days upon days on my own.  I found myself becoming withdrawn from family and friends.  I was angry with myself but could not find a way to get back on my feet.

After several years I realised that I had to something to help myself. I attended my local jobcentre who suggested that I should go to AMH New Horizons Downpatrick.  I was reluctant but thought “hey I should try this I have nothing to lose”.

On my first day I met with Joanna (Client Development Co-ordinator) who suggested that I should try the garden centre as I enjoy practical activities. I met Keith (Horticulture Instructor) and he quickly put me at ease and made me feel very welcome.

After a year I had achieved my NVQ in horticulture and a First Aid qualification.   During a review, my keyworker Keith discussed with me that my confidence and sense of self-worth had increased and suggested that I should speak with Stephanie the Employment Officer.  Stephanie explained that I could try some work experience to see if I would be ready to go back to work.  I was very reluctant to do this but I was continuously assured about the support I would receive.

Stephanie set up a meeting with Croob Engineering in Clanvaraghan and we both met with the Managing Director Fintan McMullan who explained that he would be happy to give me the opportunity to gain work experience as a labourer one day per week. Stephanie came with me the first few weeks to ensure I was settling in.   Fintan allowed me to work at my own pace and was always there if I needed guidance.

The staff at Croob Engineering made me feel part of the team and I shortly increased my placement to two days per week. Stephanie arranged for me to complete CSR training to allow me to go onto sites if needed with other staff.  After 4 months Fintan McMullan had a meeting with me – he explained that he had been impressed with my work and in particular fitting into the team and would like to offer me paid employment.  I was delighted with this and accepted readily and began working 3 days per week.

It has been nearly 1 year since I started my employment journey and I would not be the person I am now without AMH New Horizons Downpatrick and my colleagues at Croob Engineering. I would like to thank them for their help, support and guidance.

AMH New Horizon’s Working It Out Project is part-funded by the NI European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

The Launch of the Big Breakfast

Front Roisin Mulgrew Chairperson Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. Brian Hughes AMH
Back L-R Siobhan Black AMH, Louise Young Canal Court Hotel, Right Samantha Newell AMH.

Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, launches AMH’s Big Breakfast. The event is taking place on Thursday 12th October, 7am to 11am in the Canal Court Hotel Newry.

Coinciding with World Mental Health Day, the event aims to raise awareness of poor mental health in our community which can impact all of us at some point in our lives. The event is open to members of the public and we would love to see you there. The cost of the breakfast is £10 and can be paid on the day.

For more information contact of see our event page