The following clients have participated in Health in Mind funded Personal Development programmes across AMH services
“The Colour Me Beautiful course has given me confidence in choosing clothes and make-up.” ALMA
“The Colour Me Beautiful course has shown me how to feel confident in my appearance and body shape” LAURA
“With having a young child I found the First Aid course very interesting and useful” WENDY
“I found the Yoga course relaxing and my body seems more toned. It made me feel more health conscious about my wellbeing” MARK
“Found the Yoga course very good at relieving stress and anxiety” ANGELA
“The Crafts course was interesting and made me think about different things I’d like to do. It lifted my mood when I felt low.” AMANDA
“Very interesting group. The Craft course was great. It brings out the best in people.” KATE
“The Craft course has helped me mix with people gain. It has also brought me out of myself and I communicate better with people. I have learned crafts I never thought I could do. It has been a great help to my mental health” ANGELA
“Found the Positive Steps course very enjoyable. Varied topics and activities. Lots of useful information on services available in the area and support.” JAYNE
“The Stress Management course was a great chance for me to change my thoughts and behaviour when challenging negative thoughts. Attending my first course was very frightening. New people, the unknown. As this course has passed I have become more settled mentally and look forward so much to seeing the group. I have become stronger to face my fears of negative situations.” CAROL
“The Stress Management course was quite an eye opener. It helped me to unload some feelings/emotions. Its gave me an awareness of things I easily can do to help myself and my wellbeing.”RODNEY
The following clients have participated in Health in Mind funded Digital Photography Courses across AMH services:
“The course has helped and enhanced my interest in photography. It has shown me that I can be more confident in taking and editing photos. I am also now spending more time outdoors which has improved my confidence and self esteem.” JIM
“Altogether the course was good as it helped my communications with people.” ROBERT
“I have thoroughly enjoyed this course. I have made progress in this specific skillset, moreover the fun, craic and camaraderie of the other students. I would particularly like to thank Carrie for her energy, sense of fun and her style of presenting her vast knowledge so professionally.” NOEL
The following clients have participated in Health in Mind funded I.T. courses across AMH services
“I am enjoying the course very much. Mandy is great at what she does in all ways. I look forward to coming each week which is good as it gives me the chance to commit to something. We did our first exam on File Management and I passed WOW!! It gives me a boost to my morale because I never thought it would be possible for me to achieve this. I like to give a big thumbs up and to say thank-you for giving me the opportunity to do these courses.” RODNEY
“As with all ECDL courses/units I have found them very helpful and use what I have learnt to help my children. It helps my wellbeing as Mandy is a fantastic tutor who keeps you focused but helps you to remain calm and confident.” BARBARA
“Enjoyed the course, learning new skills as well as refreshing skills I forgot I had! Increased my confidence when using computers, comfortable with the tutor who is approachable. Able to freely ask questions or for help.” JAYNE
Our seminar – Working for Mental Health – “Providing opportunities for people recovering from mental ill health”, was held in the Europa’s Penthouse Suite, and attracted quite a crowd, with standing room only! Our host for the afternoon was Letitia Fitzpatrick, who introduced our line-up of speakers, including Dr Stephen Farry, the Employment and Learning Minister; Lynne Miller, Central & NW London NHS Foundation Trust; and Alison Kerr from the Belfast Trust.
The seminar, which was sponsored by the Tughan Trust, began with Ann Donnelly, who performed a fun and interactive monologue about famous people through the ages who have succeeded in their chosen professions despite living with mental illness.
David Babington, Chief Executive of AMH, then addressed the audience,
“Work is not only central to most people’s lives; it has also been shown to have a positive effect on mental health. AMH deliver training programmes and support work based training and employment placements with a view to helping our clients re-enter the workforce, helping more than 1,700 people each year. We have developed very positive links with many businesses in the private sector, organisations in the voluntary sector and several Trusts and Councils but as the largest employer in Northern Ireland, the public sector needs to engage further than it has to date. With the cooperation of the public sector, these schemes could be extended at little cost, with huge benefit both to the people involved and to the wider economy.”
David was then followed by Lynne Miller, our visiting guest from Central & London NHS Foundation Trust, whose talk was entitled “Increasing access to paid employment opportunities for service users in a large Mental Health and Addictions Trust”. Slides from Lynne’s talk can be downloaded here. Lynne also referenced many service users experiences who placed employment at the heart of their recovery. A collection of their stories can be downloaded here.
The Minister then took to the stage,
“With the right support, people with mental health conditions are able to make a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s workforce. Not only do they play their part in the wider economy, but through meaningful and fulfilling employment, individuals can enhance the quality of their lives on all levels, including their physical and mental health. For those suffering from mental health problems, learning new skills and engaging with the employment market can have a positive effect on their own confidence and self-esteem.”
The Minister went on to pay tribute to the work of AMH,
“The support given by AMH to those with mental health conditions and learning disabilities is invaluable. My Department has a long and established working relationship with AMH and by continuing to work together to deliver a range of successful training programmes and initiatives, we can ensure that those afflicted by mental illness are given the opportunity to maximise their potential.”
The Minister concluded,
“My Department will continue to support people with mental health issues to find and sustain employment and help those affected to enjoy the social, financial and health benefits of work.”
Alison Kerr, from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust then talked about how they have been able to provide placement opportunities, the benefits and the challenges they have experienced and advice and guidance to other organisations. A copy of Alisons slides can be downloaded here.
The highlight of the programme was three AMH client testimonials and a panel of clients, AMH staff, and employers who discussed the issue of work placements and took questions from the audience.
Colin Loughran, AMH Service Manager and Billy Kohner, Chair of AMH closed the event.
A copy of the seminar brochure can be downloaded here.
We’d like to thank all those who attended the seminar, and our speakers and panel members: Letitia Fitzpatrick, Ann Donnelly, Josephine Devlin, David Babington, Lynne Miller, Dr Stephen Farry, Alison Kerr, Lynda Duke, John McGeown, Dairmuid McKeown, Selwyn Johnston, Brian Annesley, Jason Nicholson, John Kerr, Dermot Donnelly, Colin Loughran and Billy Kohner.
We will continue to lobby for more placement opportuntites and thank all those who continue to support AMH and our clients.
“Businesses must do more to help people with mental illnesses”.
Leading businessmen in the Newry area have appealed to employers to do all they can to facilitate people with mental health illnesses who wish to re-enter the world of work.
Neil Collins, General Manager of the Glen Electric plant at Greenbank and Pat Vaughan, of Easons at Buttercrane Shopping Centre, both feel that offices, shops and factories could do more to provide training places for clients of Action Mental Health who are overcoming mental health issues and who would derive great benefit from being able to work on a voluntary basis for short periods within a normal working environment.
Action Mental Health is based at the Confederation of Community Groups premises at Cornmarket in Newry to where they’ve relocated from their previous home at Greenbank Industrial Estate. Brian Hughes is the Service Manager for this region and he is very pleased that their facility is able to provide a service for around fifty clients who attend their premises each day. These clients, all of whom have experienced mild to moderate mental health issues, undertake training in a variety of Certificate courses covering areas such as Business and Administration, Retail Skills, Horticulture, IT, Catering, Health and Safety,etc.
“The training allows our clients to consider various careers and gives a good basic understanding of a number of areas”, says Brian, “an issue is that when we arrive at the stage where a client would gain benefit from occasional attendance in a normal workplace, we find that not all offices and businesses will make available that facility”.
Brian pointed out that cases of mental illness are 25% higher in Northern Ireland than in Great Britain, while funding is 25% less. He made a particular plea for public sector offices in the region to make available work opportunities for those recovering from mental illnesses.
Glen Electric and Easons are among a number of businesses that have allowed AMH clients to attend their workplace and gain experience in a return to employment. There is no cost to the employer and both Neil Collins and Pat Vaughan feel that this is a very worthwhile initiative that allows their business to make a contribution to the overall good of the community.
Health Minister Edwin Poots praised Action Mental Health for the innovative way it provides vocational rehabilitation and training for people recovering from mental illness.
Mr Poots was speaking as he visited the Hospice Shop and Barkingham Palace Dog Groomers in Lisburn where he met clients from AMH Accept in Derriaghy who are currently on work placements.
The Minister said:
“I am really impressed by the support and empowerment programmes that Action Mental Health offers people who are recovering from mental illness. The personal development training and work placements provide opportunities for people to develop the confidence, tools and skills that will enable them to lead independent lives.
With up to one in six people possibly suffering from mental illness at some point during their lifetime, any programme that aims to create a positive and meaningful future where people in recovery are able to contribute in a positive way to their local communities should be lauded.”
The Minister commended both the NI Hospice and Barkingham Palace Dog Groomers for providing diverse and innovative placement environments.
Barkingham Palace Dog Groomers, specialises in the grooming and hygiene of dogs. The work involves bathing, drying and cutting a range of different breeds. Diane McLucas bought over the Dog Grooming Business in February 2011 and is a training placement provider for clients who wish to develop skills working with animals in a grooming and care profession. The previous owner also facilitated work placements for AMH Clients. One former client is now studying to be a Veterinary Nurse at Greenmount College as a result of working in Barkingham Palace. One client is currently on placement.
The NI Hospice Shop opened in Lisburn in November 2010. Two clients from AMH currently volunteer in the shop.
Young people from the Princes Trust programme have spent a morning with our client group in Fermangh in an “inter-generational” session introducing them to the wonders of Nintendo Wii !
The students who have been fundraising locally, donated £80 towards the cost of a Wii for AMH New Horizons Fermanagh, so that clients can use it recreationally during the winter, when other outdoor activities are not possible!