All posts by actionmentalhealth

Recognising AMH Volunteers

Special guest Peter Weir MLA

A special volunteer recognition event was held in AMH New Horizons North Down & Ards, in this the European Year of Volunteering.  Special guests included Cllr David Smyth, Mayor of North Down, Peter Weir MLA, Wendy Osbourne CEO Volunteer Now, Sonya Duffy Volunteer Manager with the South Eastern Trust and David Babington CEO AMH.

The event was held to raise awareness of the benefits of volunteering to individuals and the host organisations.  3 clients talked about their placements and encouraged other clients to volunteer.  A total of 25 clients received certificates from Peter Weir MLA, to acknowlege the commitment they have shown to volunteering and the immense benefits they have received by participating in the scheme.  Representatives from 20 of the host organisations also received certificates in recognition of their valued contribution to volunteering and a small gesture of thanks from AMH.

“Before volunteering at The Link I had no self worth – but being there and helping other people has given so much to me and has built up my confidence and self esteem.”

 Mandy Green, Catering Assistant, The MARC Project

“Being with other people is very important to me and to my mental health and I have got great satisfaction from helping others.  The experience that I have gained at Bayview will help me move forward in my chosen career.”

Frances Davies, Craft Tutor, Bayview Resource Centre

 “Volunteering in the library has given structure and purpose to the my day which I didn’t have before. It also gives me a chance to interact with a wide range of people of all ages which I enjoy immensely. I am much more confident around people now.” 

 Gwyneth Lines –  Library Assistant, SERC library.

“The staff at ASDA don’t treat me any differently because I’m a client from New Horizons.  I was really touched recently when I was ill and the staff sent me a get well card – it really made me feel part of the team.  Doing the placement has been so good and I am looking forward to returning to the workplace permanently.”

 Catherine Rankin – Shop Worker, ASDA & Photography Tutor U3A

Volunteers talk about their experiences

AMH would like to thank the following organisations who have supported client placements:

Action Cancer, Age Concern, Ards Citizens Advice Bureau, ASDA, Assisi Animal Sanctuary, Ballymaconnell Nursing Home, Bayview Resource Centre, Beacon House, Boots the Chemist, Café Manor, Cancer Connect, Daisies Café, Growing Connections, Jigsaw NI, Kiltonga Christian Centre, Lazy Daisies, North Down Motor Factors, Volunteer Now, Oxfam, Praxis Care, Rathgill Community Association, Re:Store, Redburn/Loughview Forum, Simon Community, South Eastern Regional College, The British Heart Foundation, The Link, The MARC Project, The National Trust, U3A, Ulster Cancer Foundation, Volunteer Now, Volunteer Services SE Trust and Youth for Christ.

Oxfam are one of the host organisations

 For more photos of the event click here.

For more information on volunteering go to the Volunteer Now Website 

No Smoking Day in Ards!

Today is National No Smoking Day which aims to help people quit the habit.  With the right NHS support, people are four times more likely to succeed. Today AMH New Horizons in Newtownards held an event to give advice and encouragement to those who were considering giving up!

The event was attended by Kenny Graham from Boots the Chemist who had lots of advice and tips and Mr Stubbs!  A number of clients are determined to give up smoking and we wish them luck!

Facts and figures on smoking habits in Northern Ireland

Launch of AMH Manifesto 2011

We launched our manifesto for the 2011 Assembly elections on 7 February in the Long Gallery at Stormont.

The document outlines our ideas on how to develop mental health provision in Northern Ireland, including how voluntary and community organisations, such as AMH can help to develop service provision. The document outlines serious concerns regarding how proposed cuts to services will impede work being done whilst cases of mental illness are rising considerably.

 The document calls for three sensible, achievable outcomes:

 1.    Help us sustain our future

Uncertainty about funding makes it impossible to plan for the future and to determine what level of services AMH can provide to some of the most vulnerable people in society.  We need secure and certain funding streams to continue to deliver vital services. Give us that certainty and help us sustain our future.  

 2.            Let us do what we do best

 Action Mental Health can provide life-changing services to people with mental health difficulties in a professional and cost-effective way. Let AMH do what it does best in supporting the recovery of people with mental health and learning disability needs. 

 3.            Lead by example

 The public sector, including Government Departments, needs to lead by example in promoting positive mental health at every opportunity.  They need to lead the charge in combating stigma,  putting in place Mental Health awareness programmes and policies in the workplace and offering work placements to people with mental health needs.

Download AMH Manifesto 2011

watch our launch :

Downpatrick - life in the 1950s - 1980s

‘Inspirational’ Film Project in Downpatrick

Downpatrick - life in the 1950s - 1980s AMH New Horizons Downpatrick was proud to present its foray into the film making world when it premiered a movie made by its clients, focusing on the changing face of Downpatrick from the 50’s to the 80’s. The film, called ‘Downpatrick, Life in the 1950s – 1980s’, which was made entirely by clients of AMH New Horizons, Downpatrick, had its premier at Eclipse cinema in the town, marking the culmination of five months’ work.

Speaking at the launch of the film, which features interviews with local civic leaders such as Maurice Hayes, and well known local characters, Joanna Miskelly of Action Mental Health said that she was immensely proud of the film,

“The clients were responsible for directing, producing and interviewing the local characters who feature in the film. The final piece is a credit to their hard work and dedication.This project has been a real inspiration to those involved.”

The film has been supported and funded by the PEACE III Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and delivered by the North Down, Ards and Down District Council cluster. The community history project organised by Down County Museum and the Somme Heritage Centre has seen 20 community groups from Down, North Down and Ards engaging in a series of educational activities designed to promote greater understanding of local culture and traditions and enhance awareness of cultural identity and diversity in the region. The clients wanted to do something which they could be directly involved in, which was going to challenge them and which would also be fun!

Joanna said the project grew from there,Special Guests at the Premiere

“Initially we were going to look at one decade in the history of Downpatrick, but as we examined them individually, it was evident there had been quite a bit of change, so the clients thought that it would be more interesting to look at Downpatrick from the 1950’s – 80’s and in doing so, see how it has changed. Clients thought that interviewing characters who had actually lived and worked in the town during this period would give us a ‘birdseye’ view of how the town was and how it has changed over the years.

From its inception in 1963, Action Mental Health has grown to become one of Northern Ireland’s leading mental health charities, providing services to over 1700 people across Northern Ireland every year. The organisation works with people from all backgrounds to enable them to recover from mental illness so that they can enjoy an improved quality of life. The New Horizons project helps people overcome the effects of mental ill health, and in many cases return to work. It offers a range of projects and qualifications, providing training, personal development programmes and social projects.

You can watch the film below:-

we have more photos of the event courtesy of the Down Recorder click on this link:

Minister visits AMH New Horizons in Newry.

The Minister for Employment and Learning, Danny Kennedy visited AMH New Horizons in Newry today.

 AMH New Horizons works to improve the health and well-being of people with mental health needs, by providing personal development programmes, vocational training and employment opportunities.  AMH opened its doors in Newry 21 years ago and now has two locations in the area, Greenbank Industrial Estate and Canal Street.

 Clients can train for a variety of IT qualifications from introductory to advanced level.  During his visit the Minister met Stephen McConville.  Stephen is the first client in Newry to pass a module in the Advanced ECDL (European Computer Driving License)  course. The Minister offered his congratulations and presented Stephen with his certificate.

AMH Promote – Launches Life Alert

Special guests join the Life Alert team to raise awareness

The Project “Life Alert” was launched at event in AMH Promote with special guests including, Lady Sylvia Hermon MP, Peter Weir MLA, Councillor Anne Wilson, representatives from the PSNI and DPP and the Life Alert team.

 AMH Promote is a training centre in Conlig run by AMH (Action Mental Health) which teaches adults with learning disability to be more independent and to train for job placements in the community.

 The project “Life Alert” began about three years ago to raise awareness of Learning Disability within the local community.  Who better to raise awareness than those with learning disabilities, speaking about the problems and difficulties they face to a range of small audiences including, school children and teachers, student social workers, District Policy Partnerships, local councillors, and more recently new citizen advocates.

The group consists of Martin Mahood, Hilary Gammon, Louise McBride, Alan Webster, Josie Morton and Sarah Johnston.  They are all supported by Elizabeth Lightbody (Bryson House Advocacy Service).

 The clients from AMH Promote came up with the name “Life Alert” as it represents the important point they want to get across; they want everyone around them to be alert to those living with a learning disability, they want them to be sensitive to their needs and to just to give them some thought and consideration.

 Working in partnership with the PSNI and in particular Ken Butler, “Life Alert” made its debut at South Eastern Regional College in Bangor, and since then the group have grown in confidence. Much of the content of these informal meetings is a question and answer session. This has proven to be the best way of involving the audience in the discussion and raise their knowledge of Learning Disability especially amongst school children.

 Some of the topics covered have included the range of difficulties our clients can face in their community in particular, bullying, housing issues, and accessing community services.  They have also helped their audiences understand their disability and what it is like to have a Learning Disability.  They have talked about how the community can help them and what upsets them.  Our clients have discussed equal opportunities and how they want to have the same rights as everyone else, for instance, the chance to go to college.

 The Group has put together a number of “Life Alert” wallets to be handed out when they visit businesses, shops and centres.  The wallet consists of contact information for individual.  Posters have been distributed to promote the project.  Adults with a Learning Disability in the Bangor area can be reassured that when visiting a shop or public place displaying the “Life Alert” poster that they are somewhere where staff are sensitive to their needs and have an understanding of their disability.  Those who sign up to Life Alert are supporting the government’s strategy to promote social inclusion for all those with a learning disability.

So if someone presents a “Life Alert” wallet to you, please take a moment to read the information, everyone should feel valued and part of their own community. Everyone deserves respect and understanding.

You can contact the Life Alert group at AMH Promote T 028 9127 5953. 

You can also download a copy of the Life Alert Poster.

VOTE win Best Trade Prize

Our VOTE clients have been operating a mini-business in the last few weeks in which they produced a wonderful selection of Christmas logs and cards.  On 9th December they took part in the Young Enterprise Trade Fair at The Outlet in Banbridge and, in addition to selling most of their stock, they were awarded the Best Trade prize from the Young Enterprise Scheme for the Southern region and the team were presented with a gift voucher.

Staff and clients are delighted as there was some serious competitions from local schools!!! Well done to all involved!!