Tag Archives: New Horizons

AMH New Horizons client and OCN awards finalist, Joanna, is bursting with passion and creativity!

Joanna is taking part in the Working it Out project at AMH New Horizons Ards & North Down The OCN Level 1 Mixed Media art student, Joanna, was recently shortlisted in two categories at the OCN awards. She was Highly Commended in Health and Wellbeing Learner of the Year and also Highly Commended in Third Sector Learner of the Year.

Joanna started at AMH New Horizons shy, easily overwhelmed, and lacking in self-confidence and self-belief. But now, she can lose herself in creativity. She has had to overcome tough and demanding physical, mental and emotional impacts of anxiety. She is a wonderful example of what can be achieved by facing your fears, riding out uncomfortable sensations/feelings, to commit to something important to you. Joanna’s strength throughout the OCN course has been her determination to overcome her anxiety and build a future where she is achieving her dreams.

Pauline Matthew, Skills Coach at AMH New Horizons, described the joy she has gained from helping Joanna throughout the course:

“Joanna’s journey was magical to watch. Seeing her light up, speak passionately and positively to other students about her work – lit the touchpaper to Joanna’s increased self-belief in her ability to not only create great art but to take pride in it, own it and believe in herself.

She has pushed through, forced herself to sit with the uncomfortable, overcoming fears, anxiety and emotions to contribute to the classes and to create meaningful, personal and beautiful art.”

Joanna is continuing to push herself beyond her comfort boundaries, sharing her thoughts, promoting ideas and proposals for better or more creative ways of working.

The “Working it Out” project 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.

Action Mental Health – tackling loneliness and its impact on mental wellbeing.

Mental Health Awareness Week shines a welcome spotlight on efforts to reduce the impact of loneliness on our mental health and wellbeing. For many of Action Mental Health’s services such as our AMH New Horizons services, tackling loneliness and increasing social connections for our clients is a central element of our work throughout the year.

AMH’s New Horizons services which are located right across Northern Ireland, are much-vaunted support networks to people experiencing periods of mental ill-health.

AMH New Horizons operates recovery services that offer wellbeing, vocational and employability programmes. This complements AMH’s emotional wellbeing and resilience building programmes in schools, workplaces and indeed across the community which aim to build a more resilient and healthier population. Last year AMH services supported almost 25,000 local people, of all ages, right across Northern Ireland.

Clients attending AMH New Horizons take part in a range of courses, from therapeutic classes like arts and crafts, to accredited training and work placements through the “Working it Out” project. Working it Out 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.

The effects of loneliness

There have been many studies on the impact of loneliness and the findings are stark as highlighted below:

  • Loneliness is a killer; in fact it can hasten your death by up to 30% among some risk groups.
  • According to a study of 3.4million people, carried out by Brigham Young University, USA, people who are or feel socially isolated or live alone – whatever their age – are at increased risk of an earlier death. The study’s lead author, Professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad said the harmful effects of loneliness are similar to the harm caused by smoking, obesity or alcohol misuse.
  • The study, Social Isolation, Loneliness and Health Among Older Adults by Caitlin Coyle and Elizabeth Dugan found that loneliness was associated with higher odds of having a mental health problem, while isolation was associated with higher odds of reporting one’s health as being fair or poor.

How AMH is making a difference

Many of our clients regularly tell us that they rely on the social interactions and new friendship networks they build through attending services such as AMH New Horizons and our Mens Sheds to combat their own challenges with loneliness.

We have AMH New Horizons services located across Northern Ireland and you can find out more about the services in your local area by clicking here. On this page you can find contact details for your local service, as well as details on how to access these services for yourself or a loved one.

Our Mens Shed provide a great social setting for men over the age of 50, who we know are one of the groups most at risk of the impacts of loneliness. Our shedders build new skills and friendship networks in a relaxed, comfortable environment, with other people who are facing similar issues. Our Mens Sheds are located in Antrim, Downpatrick and Enniskillen and you can find out more about them by clicking here.

The “Working it Out” project 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.


Mark finds his vocation

Joining Action Mental Health (AMH) had a significant impact on Mark’s life. The AMH ‘Working it Out’ ESF programme supports the recovery of adults experiencing mental ill health who are interested in progressing towards further training and employment opportunities.

Mark has suffered from mental ill-health since childhood.  As an adult Mark gained employment, however, he had periods of time when his mental health declined and he needed to take time out of work to recover.  His mental ill-health impacted his career.

After leaving work Mark was referred to AMH New Horizons where he completed over 20 Accredited training courses including OCNNI in Stress Management Techniques, Health & Social Care, and Employability courses.

‘I came to AMH-New Horizons in the spring of 2018.  Spring is known as a time of rebirth, hope, and new life.  I received this from the moment I engaged with the service and it continued to grow throughout my time with AMH.  Looking back, I am forever grateful for the opportunity that was offered, so that I could gain knowledge, skills, and experience.

I received much-needed help to integrate, progress, and survive in this life.  I gained the confidence I needed to pursue voluntary work and I am now working as a personal carer and thanks to AMH-New Horizons I have found my vocation.

Mark is taking part in the “Working It Out” Project which is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Colin gets a confidence boost!

The AMH ‘Working it Out’ project provides a comprehensive programme of specialist training in personal development, vocational skills and employability, to people recovering from mental illness, supporting them to gain paid employment or progress to further education /further training.

Colin Wright, a client at AMH New Horizons, initially took part in International Job Shadow Day with Alan Espey Clothing & Interiors Newtownards. This was then followed by a work experience placement and eventually, Colin commenced part-time employment in the business. While attending AMH New Horizons, Colin also achieved his NVQ Level Two Certificate in Retail Skills.

“Securing this employment, has meant a great deal to me. It has boosted my confidence and career prospects. I’m indebted to Mr Espey for providing me with the opportunity to develop my retail experience and for encouraging and motivating me,” said Colin.

Mr Espey commented, “For us, this was an excellent opportunity to give someone with no retail experience a chance to gain retail knowledge and practical skills in a real working environment. I watched, over the weeks and months, Colin becoming more confident with weekly tasks such as customer engagement, stocktaking, using tills and displaying stock. It has been a very positive experience and one where we feel we have helped Colin to plan for his future.”

Colin is taking part in the “Working It Out” Project which is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

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

Mo Sistas AMH New Horizons Foyle

#Movember at AMH

Movember is the largest global men’s health charity with campaigns in 21 countries. The message asks men (known as Mo Bros, supported by female Mo Sistas)) to grow a moustache for the 30 days of November to raise awareness and funds for men’s health.

Originally campaigning to raise awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer, In the UK they have just announced their third funded program area – a commitment to invest £2.5million in men’s mental health initiatives.

Mental health issues clearly affect both men and woman but when you look at it from a male perspective the statistics are quite shocking. Movember 2015 will be applying a male lens on men’s mental health issues, with the aim of being better able to support men in seeking help and treatment earlier.

Teams of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas will take part in services and projects across AMH in Northern Ireland. including the Mo Sistas (below) supporting their male colleagues in our New Horizons service, Foyle!

Mo Sistas AMH New Horizons Foyle

You can support Team AMH at http://moteam.co/team-amh-movember or get involved yourself at www.movember.com

Golfing at Lough Erne

The “Ryder Cup” has come to Fermanagh as Fermanagh New Horizons clients, staff and “Men’s Shedders” took part in golf lessons with the local pro at Lough Erne Golf Resort Academy.


Novices and more experienced golfers alike got into the “swing” of things.


Some balls were struck that cleanly we are still waiting for them to land, others were struck so wildly we are waiting for them to be found!!!


Everyone shared the craic and the experience was brilliant, with numbers growing each week.


A great learning experience which will be continuing to run for clients over the next few weeks in conjunction with Disability Sport NI.