Tag Archives: Mental Health

Virtual Pride 2021

As expected, this year’s Pride events across Northern Ireland have moved online. Although June was Pride month globally, here in Northern Ireland Belfast’s Pride falls on 31 July. Belfast Pride is bringing you an online parade show featuring short videos from a wide range of people who would usually be marching on the streets of Belfast on Pride Day. Check out Belfast Pride’s social media pages at 1pm and 5pm on Saturday 31 July to watch this virtual festival of Pride.

If you want to get involved in the flesh there are still some events happening throughout Belfast. For example, The Big Gay Quiz is happening at Elmwood Hall, QUB on 30 July – grab your tickets here. Or if you’re more of a history buff there’s even a walking tour you can go on instead. Join Belfastlad Tours on a walking history of Belfast Pride on Sunday 15 August – grab tickets here.

Action Mental Health has long been a supporter of Pride events throughout Northern Ireland. Last year one of our employees shared why Pride was so important to them:

“Having a minority identity can be isolating, and Covid-19 has shut down the few safe places that many LBGT+ have to socialise/meet and emotionally connect. My heart goes out to LBGT+ people who live more rurally and who live with even greater social and geographical isolation.  How do single people cope or attend to their social/emotional needs during a lockdown? What impact does this have?

“I know this has hit the LBGT+ community hard. I recall living in rural Limavady for many years, having few LBGT+ people in the area with nowhere safe to socialise nor meet others – homophobia and heterosexism were rife.  It was very expensive to travel to the two major cities to get a night out (let alone pay in or buy anything) and I recall having to spend my hard-earned wages renting hotel rooms in Belfast just so I could have a safe night out in LBGT+ company; this wasn’t an optional city break treat but a mental health essential!

I am very aware I was one of the privileged ones that had a good job, a car and was ‘out’ to my friends and family, what about those who aren’t? 

“I am a massive advocate of the essential work and achievement of efforts to eliminate homophobia, discrimination and hate crimes against members of my LBGT+ community. Pride celebrates diversity/equality for all, integrating LBGT+ services within mainstream funding/provision whilst retaining the unique needs of these amazing people, friends, colleagues and peers, that I call my LBGT+ family.

“I look forward to walking the parade route under the AMH banner with pride in the coming years.”

AMH Celebrates in Portadown

AMH Celebrates Client Success in Craigavon and Banbridge


DSC_0114Today, family friends and supporters of Action Mental Health gathered in Portadown

Today, family friends and supporters of local charity Action Mental Health (AMH) gathered in Portadown Town Hall to celebrate the many achievements of clients in the last year.

Mayor of Craigavon, Mr Colin McCusker and Joanne McConville, Primary Healthcare Manager at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust were in attendance to listen to clients’ “Roots to Recovery” personal stories.

The special guests stayed to present certificates to clients for a range of OCNs and NVQs in personal wellbeing, employment, computer skills, domestic cooking skills and horticulture.

Throughout the year, clients of AMH’s New Horizon’s service also benefitted from a range of non-accredited personal and wellbeing activities from oil painting and jewellery making to sports like Boccia and Football.

The Mayor congratulated staff and clients on their success.


The staff from AMH New Horizons Craigavon & Banbridge
The staff from AMH New Horizons Craigavon & Banbridge


Richard and Ken’s “Wee Walk” for AMH


Local men Richard Simms and Ken Strang are trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal to raise funds for both Action Mental Health and the Child Heartbeat Trust.

Humorously and humbly entitled their “Wee Walk In The Hills”, Richard and Ken are trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. It will take them 10 days trekking to reach Base Camp at a height of 5,600 metres, where there is only 50% of the oxygen compared to sea level.

The two men will walk among 4 out of the 6 tallest mountains in the world. Including the return trek, Richard and Ken will be walking for 17 days in total.

They say they’ll need ‘a shower and a shave afterwards but it will all have been worth it.’

Richard told us he chose AMH to benefit from his fundraising challenge because:

“Having seen people very close to me suffer from mental health issues I feel very strongly about supporting charities that raise the awareness of mental health and help others in similar circumstances.”

If you would like to support these two brave men raising vital funds for mental health services in Northern Ireland, visit their Justgiving page here.

Dander Ball (Walking Football)

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The World Cup might be over and the premier league has not yet kicked off but clients, students and staff at New Horizons Fermanagh are keeping the football spirit alive with their “Dander Ball” (Walking Football).

This activity is all inclusive, it is played exactly like football with one major exception – you are not allowed to run.

Sounds simple, however it is anything but!

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These photos capture some of the actions from the “Messi’s and Ronaldos” of the Dander Ball arena. It was enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.

This whole thing is set to KICK off with AMH Fermanagh putting together a team in the hope of competing with other organisations in the Western Trust area.


It is a great laugh, great workout and very competitive… so give it a try!

See more photos on our Facebook page Dander Ball album here

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Foyle Glass Fiddle at Fleadh Cheoil


The man at the helm of our Foyle New Horizons unit is Service Manager Mickie Harkin, pictured here earlier this year with the now-famous ‘glass fiddle’ piece of art, crafted by AMH’s Billy Henderson.


This one off piece has generated a lot of discussion around the topic of recovery and the work of AMH during its travels. The case and stones take the form of the Giants Causeway, with concealed backlighting, and were made by clients attending AMH New Horizons Foyle.


The fiddle has already travelled to the seat of government, having been part of the art exhibition at Parliament Buildings, Stormont to mark Mental Health Week in May.

The fiddle then travelled back to Derry for the City of Culture 2013 celebrations and will proudly welcome visitors to the city at the Fleadh Cheoil centre office during the week of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2013 in August.

For 20 years now Action Mental Health (AMH) New Horizons has been helping clients recover from mental illness in the greater Derry area. The centre boosts personal development through vocational training, from crafts to IT, and the creation of career opportunities.


“Clients are referred to us through the community mental health team for various programmes. We’re talking about people who have mental health issues ranging from stress, anxiety and depression to more serious conditions like bi-polar and schizophrenia.  Courses are run for up to 30 months and clients are then given employability options.”

And the imaginative creations of the craft and wood occupation workshops are particularly popular with the public, as Mr Harkin explains:

“We sell the bespoke items we make here and often people come and commission work. That gives clients a great sense of personal worth and enhanced self esteem.”

Whether it be finely crafted glass fiddles or made-to-order wishing wells or garden benches, customers can be sure of three things – that painstaking workmanship went into the crafting of the products; that the money raised goes back into running the essential service; and that the creation and sale of the items aided the personal development of the clients.

The “What’s Your Story” sofa, another great piece of art created by New Horizons Foyle


AMH New Horizons is a registered charity which helps people to overcome the effects of mental ill health and in many cases return to work.

It offers a range of recognised qualifications and provides training, personal development programmes and social and recreational activities.



For more information contact Mickie Harkin by email at [email protected] or by telephone on (028) 7137 3502

The Foyle unit is located at Unit 13 Springtown Industrial Estate, Springtown Road, Derry BT48 0LY