All posts by Amy Black

Mental Health Campaign Scoops Industry Awards

For the second year running, Action Mental Health has triumphed at this year’s CIPR Pride awards by winning Gold in the coveted Healthcare and Public Affairs categories for its ambitious Regress, React, Resolve campaign.

Competing against some of Northern Ireland’s leading communications agencies, judges praised the widespread media attention AMH received for Regress, React, Resolve, which skilfully challenged Government to tackle underinvestment and fragmentation of mental health services in Northern Ireland.

As a direct result, the Northern Ireland Executive has pledged to improve mental health provision in the forthcoming Programme for Government, which has been hailed a milestone achievement by clients, organisations and healthcare professionals alike.

Chief Executive of Action Mental Health, David Babington said:

“We are honoured to be recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations for our efforts in driving the mental health agenda forward and ring fencing government funding for support services in Northern Ireland.

“We are proud to have been shortlisted amongst some of the largest and most successful communications agencies across the province and humbled to have been awarded first place in two categories. This serves as a testament to the talented and resourceful communications team we have in Action Mental Health, who I personally would like to thank for making this campaign a huge success through their hard work, dedication and creativity.”

 

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Translink Announces Action Mental Health as new Charity Partner

translink-launchTranslink has announced Action Mental Health (AMH) as its new Charity Partner for the next three years. The local charity works to raise awareness of mental health and supports the many people affected right across Northern Ireland.

With one in four adults in Northern Ireland showing signs of mental illness at some stage in their lives and psychiatric support services facing funding challenges, this new partnership will be an opportunity to make a positive difference to the lives of many people at a local level.

Announcing the new partnership, Translink’s Group Chief Executive Chris Conway said:

“Translink has a long history of supporting local charities up and down the country. We are delighted to now partner with Action Mental Health as our Corporate Charity who were nominated and selected by our employees.  Mental health is so important at every stage in life from childhood right through to adulthood and we look forward to developing this partnership.

“This is also a great fit to help us promote all the benefits of ‘active travel’ such as giving people regular physical exercise and more ‘me’ time with a walk to their local bus stop or train station as well as more time to socialise and connect with others on board our services – all positive ways to support your own mental wellbeing.

“I have been so proud of our staff in recent years who make a huge effort to get behind our chosen charity.  As a major employer and by working together our efforts can make a big difference for the benefit of others.   We already have an exciting calendar of events being planned with fundraising going towards the AMH – ‘Healthy Me’ Programme aimed at local primary school children to positively promote mental health, social and emotional wellbeing.

“Over £30,000 was raised in three years for our previous charity partner which is fantastic and I would encourage our staff and customers to get behind our new Action Mental Health partnership.”

In the last 5 years Translink employees have raised over £200k for a range of local charities across NI.

Action Mental Health’s Chief Executive David Babington commented on being appointed Translink’s Charity Partner:

“Action Mental Health is delighted to be chosen by Translink employees as their new charity partner. There are many people in Northern Ireland who have a mental illness or know someone impacted by it, so it’s fantastic to know that with the help of Translink’s staff and passengers we can raise the awareness of this serious issue even further and reach out to those who need our help most.”

Artist in a Bid to Raise Funds for Mental Health

Action Mental Health (AMH) warmly invites local residents to Clotworthy House, where three portraits from talented artist, Ross Thompson, will be auctioned to raise funds for the charity.

Entitled “Calibre 22” the event will take place on 10 October, when three multi-medium artworks depicting some of Northern Ireland’s most famous faces, such as Seamus Heaney and Queen Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones, will be auctioned. Ross Thompson will also be showcasing other pieces of art as part of his “Art as Therapy” exhibition.

Harnessing his personal journey of mental resilience and recovery through the medium of pencil sketching and copper plate work, Ross is celebrating his return to art and design.

He said:

“I have experienced a number of traumas which left me questioning whether life was anything more than an endurance test. I found it extremely hard to cope both emotionally and psychologically as every aspect of my life was impacted by my mental ill-health, including my relationships and career.

“However, since attending AMH New Horizons I have started to feel more valued as a person and secure in my own skin. My Employment Officer, Anne McKernan, has been hugely encouraging and has given me the confidence to pursue my passion for art again.”

Located on Steeple Road, the New Horizons division of AMH (which is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy) provides support to those experiencing mental ill-health by aiding their recovery through employment, volunteering, training and advice.

Ross continued:

“The continuous care, support and understanding I receive from New Horizons has been amazing and I am grateful that such a life-changing service exists for those who are finding it difficult to cope mentally.”

Ross, who studied graphic design in Edinburgh, now works as a freelance artist in his home town of Coleraine.

John Davis, Services Manager of AMH New Horizons Antrim, said:

“Art can often be the key to unlocking motivation and positivity for people who have low self-esteem and poor mental well-being.

“New Horizons therefore provides a supportive, encouraging and safe environment where everyone has a voice and a creative platform to express themselves and support each other through their journey.

“We are incredibly proud of Ross and are in awe of his talent for creating such beautiful pieces of art, which we are sure will impress those who come to admire it also.”

The exhibition will be on display in Clotworthy House, Antrim.

If you are unemployed, living with a mental illness and are interested in taking part in the New Horizons Employment Program, contact your Community Mental Health team, Condition Management team or Jobs and Benefits advisor, and ask for a referral to the service.

To take part in New Horizons Employment Program email jdavis@amh.org.uk or call 028 94428081.

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CYCLISTS GEAR UP FOR THE ULTIMATE GRANITE CHALLENGE

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

 

Taking place on Sunday 2nd October at 10am, the long distance cycle will commence shortly in advance of World Mental Health Day with proceeds going towards the charity’s Men’s Shed project.

Press Eye - Action Mental Health - 30th August 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan AMH Chief Executive David Babington, cyclist Row Quinn and Miss NI Emma Carswell.
Photograph By Declan Roughan

 

The money raised will enable AMH to provide men aged 60 and over with a friendly and inclusive environment where they can enjoy each other’s company while working on a variety of activities such as joinery, photography and gardening in a bid to form new friendships and learn new skills.

 

Supported by cycling club La Lanterne Rouge, cyclists will be put through their paces by embarking on a 55 mile route that starts at AMH’s New Horizons Service in Downpatrick, through the scenic surroundings of the Mournes and Spelga Dam before returning back home via Bryansford, Maghera and Clough.

 

Chief Executive of Action Mental Health, David Babington said:

 

“Any form of physical activity plays a huge role in not only keeping our bodies fit, but our minds healthy as well. With as many as one in four 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.

 

“With this year’s World Mental Health Day theme being Dignity in Mental Health, 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 almost doubles, 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.

 

AMH ambassador, Therapie Miss NI, Emma Carswell said:

 

“I am delighted to be an ambassador for AMH and support the famous Granite Challenge!

 

“Mental ill-health is a growing issue here in Northern Ireland, but those who are living with it often feel unable to speak out and seek the support they need due to the stigma that still exists.

 

“It’s important for people to know that in difficult times they are not alone, so what better way to show family, friends and colleagues that you want to change the conversation and be vocal about mental health, than taking part in The Granite Challenge on behalf of a great cause such as The Men’s Shed Project.”

 

Entrance fee is £20 which includes a delicious tea stop at Spelga Dam where all your favourite tray bakes and sweet treats await, followed by a freshly prepared lunch at the finish line.

 

Spaces are limited so register your interest now by clicking on www.granitechallenge16.eventbrite.co.uk

 

If you wish to volunteer for this event please contact Callum Clark on cclark@amh.org.uk for details on how to get involved.

 

New Horizons Belfast Celebrates Clients’ Success

Earlier this month, Action Mental Health (AMH) New Horizons Belfast hosted a certificate presentation day to celebrate the individual achievements of clients.

 Joanne Stroud with Clients

Located in Belfast city centre, the New Horizons service (which is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020, the Department for the Economy, and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust) provides life changing services to those experiencing mental ill-health by aiding their recovery through employment, volunteering, training, support and advice.

 

Presenting clients with a range of OCNNI, BCS and City and Guilds certificates, Service Manager Joanne Stroud said:

 

“It’s an honour to celebrate with clients who through their own hard work, determination and drive, have gained transferable skills that will open up opportunities in terms of their personal and professional development.

 

“When trying to overcome the often debilitating effects of mental illness, it is important to remember that support from loved ones and services like AMH New Horizons are vital in the recovery process.

 

“Not only is it inspirational to see so many people develop new skills which will be helpful to them both in the workplace and in their personal  lives, but also to see the improvements in their mental well-being.

 

“This provides reassurance to others who are perhaps experiencing hard times that with the right support and encouragement, anything is achievable.”

 

David Babington, Chief Executive of AMH added:

 

“Over the course of the last year we have witnessed how much our clients have grown professionally and in their own personal resilience.

 

“In the last year, 75 new clients joined our New Horizons service in Belfast, achieving 329 units or full awards of accreditation in a range of vocational areas.

 

“Research shows that as many as one in four people in Northern Ireland will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives.

 

“We at AMH New Horizons therefore connect with organisations to create employment and volunteering opportunities for clients who are recovering from a mental illness and want to re-join the workforce.

 

“Our long-term vision is to break down the barriers of stigma and isolation by encouraging more people to open up and talk about mental illness and integrating individuals back into society.

 

“We are hugely proud of our clients’ incredible achievements this year and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.”

 

If you are unemployed, living with a mental illness and are interested in taking part in the New Horizons Programme, contact your Community Mental Health team, Condition Management team or Jobs and Benefits advisor, and ask for a referral to the service.

 

To find out more visit the AMH website at www.amh.org.uk or call the New Horizons Belfast service on 02890278283.

 

AMH Puts The Wheels In Motion for Mental Health

AMH New Horizons Foyle have received £8692 from Awards For All Northern Ireland, to help them introduce a new cycling initiative which provides groups with the opportunity to either reengage with cycling or try it out for the first time.

 

The AMH Life Cycle project seeks to encourage Foyle service users to integrate physical activity into their daily routine and benefit from all the positive mental, physical and social benefits by taking part in a series of four 10 week cycling programmes.

 

AMH Life Cycle project offers clients the opportunity to:Life Cycle_01

  • build cycling confidence and highway code knowledge
  • learn basic bike maintenance, repairs, and pre-use road checks
  • make new friends and join group rides in Foyle
  • adapt healthier lifestyle options
  • access bikes on weekends on an individual or group basis

 

Service Manager of AMH New Horizons Foyle, Mickie Harkin, said:

 

“We are all prone to being physically unwell due to certain lifestyle choices such as smoking, poor diet and alcohol misuse, which can often result in weight gain and other negative physical impacts.

 

“We’re hugely excited to be launching the Life Cycle project this summer and welcome all of our clients to get on their bikes and enjoy the great outdoors with us.”

 

The AMH Life Cycle project is available to clients of AMH New Horizons Foyle.  To take part, email Mickie on mharkin@amh.org.uk or call 028 7137 3502. For more information please visit: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/northernireland

New Horizons Derriaghy Celebrates Clients’ Achievements

This week, New Horizons Derriaghy hosted a certificate presentation day to celebrate the individual achievements of over 40 clients during the last 12 months.

 

The New Horizons division of AMH (which is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy) provides life changing services to those experiencing mental ill-health by aiding their recovery through employment, volunteering, training, support and advice.

 

Presenting clients with qualifications ranging from visual merchandising, computer literacy and digital skills, to customer service, and art, Acting Service Manager Eoin McAnuff said:

 

“It’s an honour to celebrate with clients who  through their own hard work, determination and drive, have gained transferable skills that will open up opportunities in terms of their personal and professional development.

 

“When trying to overcome the often debilitating effects of mental illness, it is important to remember that support from loved ones and services like AMH New Horizons are vital in the recovery process.

 

“In this instance, not only is it inspirational to see so many people learn new skills for both in and outside the workplace, but to see their mental well-being flourish as well.

 

“This serves as an example to others who are perhaps experiencing hard times that with the right support and encouragement, anything is achievable.”

 

David Babington, Chief Executive of AMH added:

 

“Over the course of the last year we have witnessed how much our clients have grown personally, professionally and emotionally.

 

“From the 1st April 2015 to now, 165 clients have attended our New Horizons service in Derriaghy, achieving 352 units of accreditation in a range of vocational areas.

 

“In addition 17 clients have progressed into employment, further education or training, which is a fantastic result.

 

“It is a sad truth that as many as one in four people in Northern Ireland will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives.

 

“We at AMH New Horizons therefore connect with organisations to create employment and volunteering opportunities for clients who are recovering from a mental illness and want to re-join the workforce.

 

“Our long-term vision is to break down the walls of stigmatisation and isolation by encouraging more people to open up and talk about mental illness and integrating individuals back into society.

 

“We are hugely proud of our clients’ incredible achievements this year and wish them all the best in all their future endeavours.”

 

If you are unemployed, living with a mental illness and are interested in taking part in the New Horizons Employment Program, contact your Community Mental Health team, Condition Management team or Jobs and Benefits advisor, and ask for a referral to the service.

 

To take part in New Horizons Employment Program email emcanuff@amh.org.uk or call 028 90629759.

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David’s Story

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New Horizons  offers a variety of services for people experiencing mental health issues to help integrate them back into the community by giving them the opportunity to experience positive social outlets and develop new skills.  Two excellent ways of doing this are through volunteering and work.

 

New Horizons client David McBride shares his experience:

 

“I have been attending New Horizons for about eight months.  I started going there after being confronted with some of my own mental health issues which resulted in me being out of work for over a year.  After a traumatic experience at work, which ultimately resulted in me losing my job, I began to question the reasons behind my choice of career. This led to me questioning my own abilities, my confidence and how I defined myself as a person.   As a result, I began to experience high levels of anxiety and depression.

 

“I was referred to New Horizons by my CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) as part of my recovery and to develop better social skills.  Coming here two days a week gave me purpose which led to an improvement in my confidence and overall well-being.  Knowing that I would ultimately like to get back to work, I got in touch with Briana the New Horizon’s Employment Officer in Fermanagh.  Although not quite ready at the time to begin work, I was interested in seeing what my options were.

 

“I have been working in social care for many years, but due to the demanding nature of this work, I felt it would be better for my mental health if I tried something different.  I had recently completed a training qualification and felt that my skills were suited for this type of work.

 

“We started by working on my CV, so Briana and I could get a full understanding of skills and qualifications.

 

“I wasn’t really quite sure what direction I wanted to go so together we researched different options and discussed what each would require and whether I was ready to take it on.  I found it helpful to go through this process as we were able to whittle down what I didn’t want or wasn’t quite ready for, making  what I did want, much clearer.

 

“I realised that I wanted to facilitate training in small groups.  Although my long term plan is to be a freelanced Social Care trainer, to get me started, it was better if I got some experience in facilitating training.

 

“Briana contacted Ciaran in the FRCI so we could meet with him to discuss what options may be available for work experience.  Ciaran went through my recently updated CV and was able to see the potential, although I had no experience in a training role.

 

“He agreed to provide me with the opportunity to gain some experience as a volunteer Training Facilitator two mornings a week for ten weeks.  I was delighted.  Through the conversations between Briana, Ciaran and myself we were able to fit it into my schedule, which worked for the FRCI as well.  It was good that Ciaran was aware of my mental health issues not only because I felt that I could go to him with any concerns, but we were also able to put together a level of work that met my capabilities at the time.

 

“After the work trail was over, Ciaran, Briana and myself met again to discuss how it went.  I found it to be a very rewarding opportunity which increased my confidence and mental well-being.  It was great that I had somewhere to go on those days and it provided me with a purpose and reason to get up in the morning.  I even discovered skills I didn’t know I had.  The positive feedback from Ciaran and the staff really helped me along the way.

 

“The icing on the cake was when Ciaran said an opening had become available as an IT tutor and he would be happy if I stepped in.  I graciously accepted as the part time hours and the job content really suited me and had definitely contributed to my recovery.

 

“I have now been working in the FRCI for six weeks and I am still enjoying the work and learning new skills each day.  In fact I have been able to gain further qualifications as the FRCI have been putting me through the Advanced ECDL course.

 

“I am very grateful for the support from both Briana and Ciaran.  The support provided from Briana and AMH enabled me to be able to take that first step.  She was there supporting me throughout the whole process, making sure I was managing okay and helping to negotiate and tricky decisions.”

 

David completed his level 1 and 2 ECDL in Action Mental Health New Horizons. 

 

New Horizons is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.