All posts by actionmentalhealth

Find Out About Men’s Shed

Come along and find out all about Men’s Shed Downpatrick on Friday 12th April 2013 in St Patrick’s Centre, Downpatrick.  Drop in anytime between 10.30am and 12 noon.  Refreshments will also be provided!

What is Men’s Shed?

Men’s Shed brings together men to share their skills, have a laugh and a cup of tea while working on practical activities of their choice.

A place for members to be themselves, a place to work at your own pace, a place to exchange ideas and learn, a place for members to support each other and build friendships.

Who can join? Men age 60 years and over and membership is free.

For more information, please contact Hazel Wilson on 07885 407094.

Download our Men’s Shed Downpatrick Information Leaflet.

We also have a Men’s Shed Fermanagh and one will be opening shortly in Antrim.

Style Comes To Stormont


On Wednesday 13th March AMH hosted a glamorous night of fashion in the prestigious surroundings of the Great Hall at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.







The event was supported by some of Northern Ireland’s best known names in the fashion and beauty world including retailer House of Fraser and Tracey Hall’s Style Academy models who were prepared for the catwalk by the talents of the Peter Mark hair team and award-winning make-up artist Paddy McGurgan, (after a lovely facial treatment from the therapists at Creme de la Mer!)









The fashion industry is one based on beauty, judgement and perfection.  As a result, the industry often carries the burden of blame in society for propagating negative self-image (of young women in particular). However, a growing number of women are finding solace from their mental health issues in the worlds of fashion and the internet, as exemplified by the rise in “blogging”.  One such local blogger, Gemma-Louise Bond (21), bravely spoke at the event revealing her own mental health challenges and the role her blog played in her recovery explaining: “It keeps my morale up and gives me a great focus.”







The event was opened by our CEO David Babington and Pam Brown, MLA and member of the Health Committee. The night began with a drinks reception and entertainment provided by James Huish, Belfast’s very own “Bublé” who serenaded some of the guests.







Jason Shankey, Peter Mark, Zen Restaurant and Aura Day Spa were among many local businesses who donated raffle prizes. All proceeds were raised in aid of Action Mental Health to help their support services and outreach work across Northern Ireland.

The audience comprised some local fashion writers and bloggers including Louise Vance who held a “Best Dressed” competition for guests and delighted the winner with a hamper from Dolly’s Retro Sweets and a handmade necklace from Rebro Jewelry.

AMH staff took part in every aspect from organizing and promoting the event, to volunteering on the night as ticket agents, ushers and model dressers. Two staff members and two clients from the Newtownards unit also dressed to impress in dinner suits from House of Fraser to help the models down the marble staircase in the grand finale.

















Thank you to everyone who




and supported

this special event!


And The Winner Is …..

 …….. Managing The Challenge, winner of the Innovations in Parkinson’s Disease Award 

Susan Crawford, Genus Pharmaceuticals (sponsors of the award); Martina Blake, Managing the Challenge; Dr Seamus Kearney

The Northern Ireland Healthcare Awards  took place last week at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. As always, the glittering gala gave healthcare professionals here the opportunity to highlight their own work and to be applauded by their peers for their achievements.

“Managing the Challenge” is a licensed self management course, funded by the Western Health and Social Services Trust, managed and delivered by Action Mental Health (AMH) and supported by the Long Term Conditions Alliance Northern Ireland (LTCANI).

Martina Blake, the Self Management Co-ordinator accepted the award for Innovations in Parkinson’s Disease.  On presenting the award the judges said,

“The applications to this category were of an excellent calibre and all demonstrated positive impact for patients with Parkinson’s disease. The winner was selected as it is a new approach to multi-disciplinary care for patients with chronic disease including Parkinson’s disease. Martina demonstrated a patient centred approach and encourages empowerment of the patient in living with, and managing, their disease. Patient feedback was excellent and one of the course trainers is a patient with PD who became a trainer after her very positive experience with the programme. The PD nurses in the Western Trust are now planning to become trainers which will further benefit the patients in the Western Trust. Our hope in awarding this project is that the benefits of this service will be recognised province wide and as a result we will see other Trusts embrace this forward thinking method and enable equality of care for all patients with PD.”

Among the attendees were members of the Health Committee, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Dr Norman Morrow and the Minister for Health, Edwin Poots, who presented Dr Morrow with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Addressing those gathered, Mr Poots said:

 ‘You should be proud of the excellent service you provide for the people of Northern Ireland, whether or not you have received an award. I hope that you will all have been inspired to continue your good work. These awards recognise and celebrate the high standard of healthcare carried out in the province and also to encourage innovation and the translation of evidence into practice to improve the quality and safety of patient care.’

“What’s Your Story?” City of Culture


AMH New Horizons Foyle (based in Springtown) have been awarded funds through the Big Lottery and Arts Council for Northern Ireland to create a piece of art made from… books!


The funding which was made available through the “Culture for All” grants scheme is a unique opportunity for people from all over Northern Ireland to contribute a book for inclusion in the “What’s Your Story?” sofa.

The donated books will all share a link; how each book reflects our cultural heritage through the generations.

Books can be anything you remember from childhood, school or adult life and the diverse range will undoubtedly be an eclectic mix which will make it all the more interesting.

To make this happen, AMH need books, lots of books – all shapes and sizes. Everyone has books at home that just sit on a shelf or in a cupboard. Ideally the books will be beyond readable use, or alternatively something which you select because it is significant to you and you wish to have it included.

Collection points are being finalised locally and across Northern Ireland and will be made available via our website and social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. So far collection points include:

Derry Journal office

Derry City Council offices

Eason in Foyleside

Disability Action in Derry

The Londonderry Sentinel office in the waterside

If you wish to host a collection point then they can contact Service Manager Mickie Harkin via email for further details.

The final art piece, which has a target date of August for completion, will then be displayed in a prominent location to celebrate the City of Culture. Funding has also been secured to ensure that the piece is able to travel to several different locations outside of the City area.


Thanks for Shining a Light

The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission and its charity of the year – Action Mental Health (AMH), helped to “Shine a light on mental illness”  on the run-up to Christmas, during the festive season and the dreary month of January.

“The Shine a Light” Campaign was launched by William Hay MLA, Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, on World Mental Health Day in October.  Since then, hundreds of lights have been sponsored, by members of the public as well as those working in Parliament Buildings.  Following the Assembly’s annual Christmas Carol Service at Parliament Buildings, Assembly staff and MLAs gathered to place the lights along the grounds in front of the building, each light symbolising a message of support and hope to those living with mental ill health.

AMH raised a total of £1742.67 –  Many thanks to all those who supported the campaign.

Paul McAlea and Libby McCord from AMH New Horizons Downpatrick who raised £425 for the Shine a Light Campaign


SES Website Launched

SES – Supporting people with disabilities and health conditions in Northern Ireland and helping them get back into employment.

SES Supported Employment Solutions partnership is made up of seven disability organisations, with AMH as one of the lead partners, from across N Ireland who have come together to deliver the Work Connect and Workable (NI) Programmes across the Region

SES Aims to offer a Supported Employment approach in the delivery of programs to assist people with disabilities and health conditions to enter and stay in employment.

For more information please check out their new website


Work Connect and Workable (NI) Programs are funded by the Department for Employment and Learning


Style at Stormont

13th March 2013, 7.30pm

Great Hall, Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

£25 per ticket

A glamorous night of fashion in the grand surroundings of the Great Hall, Parliament Buildings, showcasing Spring/Summer 2013 collections from House of Fraser, with Style Academy models styled by Peter Mark hair and Paddy McGurgan make up artist.

Tickets are £25, and include a drinks reception, a goody bag for everyone in the audience, raffle prizes and entertainment will be provided by James Huish.

To book your tickets please click here

For further information e-mail Callum.

All proceeds going to Action Mental Health – Charity of the Year for the NI Assembly Commission