New Horizons gift NHS staff and key workers with handcrafted art

Stephen Brown, senior lead of the primary care multidisciplinary mental health team of the Derry GP Federation accepts a handmade pot from Pauline Flanagan, Service Manager at AMH New Horizons Foyle.

NHS staff and keyworkers who worked tirelessly during the coronavirus pandemic have been praised by staff and clients at Action Mental Health New Horizons Foyle.

Clients returning to the service after the lockdown wanted to pay tribute to the NHS on its 72nd anniversary, as well as key workers who worked through the pandemic for the community.

The Foyle service wanted to show particular appreciation for the 28 GP practices of the Derry GP Federation’s Primary Care Multi-Disciplinary Teams of the Western Health and Social Care Trust, which continued to refer people to AMH New Horizons Foyle during the crisis.

AMH New Horizons supports the recovery of adults experiencing mental ill health who are interested in progressing towards further education/training or employment. Like other New Horizons around Northern Ireland, the Springtown Industrial Estate-based service is currently delivering a phased, blended timetable of face-to-face and remote sessions of accredited and non-accredited training at clients’ own homes.

Those returning to the Arts and Crafts department in Foyle immediately got creative, designing and throwing ceramic ‘well-being’ pots to be offered in appreciation of NHS staff.

Pauline Flanagan, AMH New Horizons Service Manager said it was important to acknowledge the key workers from the primary care multi-disciplinary mental health teams who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, referring adults presenting with mental health difficulties to AMH Foyle.

“We want to say thank you, and to acknowledge the amazing collaborative work between both sectors during the pandemic in supporting and encouraging adults with mental health to access support, and to reaffirm that services are available,” she said.

Stephen Brown, who leads the primary care mental health team within the GP Federation said: “We worked very hard throughout the lockdown, ensuring adults in County Londonderry presenting with mental health issues received the information and timely interventions to ensure support and appropriate help was accessed.” 

Enjoying some of the arts and crafts at AMH New Horizons Foyle, Louise Jackson,(right) senior mental health practitioner of the primary care multidisciplinary team of the Derry GP Federation, accepts a hand-painted well-being pot from Deirdre O’Callahan, Arts & Craft Skills Coach at AMH New Horizons Foyle, on behalf of AMH Foyle staff and clients. 

One client who was referred to AMH Foyle by the mental health team during the pandemic, wanted to highlight the importance of getting support for mental health issues.

“They have a wealth of expertise on services available in the county and more importantly they know how to access them,” she said. 

Commenting on the well-being pots, another client commented: “This was a great way for us to showcase our new-found skills. We are studying Level 2 Creative Craft Skills Award and the benefits of working with clay and receiving holistic support and training at AMH Foyle is the prescription for a successful recovery.”

The programmes delivered at AMH New Horizons service are part of the “Working it Out” project, which is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020, the Department for the Economy and the five NI Health & Social Care Trusts.

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