World Mental Health Day with a worldwide difference

Action Mental Health will, this year, be marking World Mental Health Day amid unusual times, during a global pandemic no one could have foreseen.

This year the theme is – Mental Health for All, Greater Investment, Greater Access.

The crisis has dramatically transformed the way people live and work and has brought the issue of mental health onto centre stage like never before.

Despite the upheaval of the pandemic however, Action Mental Health staff have been working tirelessly to continue supporting its hundreds of clients across Northern Ireland, finding creative solutions to help them through the vocational and therapeutic sessions they are undertaking.

AMH New Horizons staff have introduced blended learning, incorporating face-to-face sessions with online services, even equipping many with tablets to ensure no client was left isolated or without access to the staff they have come to know and trust. Whilst the team at AMH New Life Counselling have continued to provide counselling sessions to clients in a range of innovative ways.

Action Mental Health annually kicks off its comprehensive calendar of events during the week of WMHD day with its eagerly awaited Granite Challenge. But with Covid restrictions limiting numbers this year, it is going DIY – offering participants new and old, advanced and novices alike the chance to take part in 2020. You can cycle for as far as you want in a venue of your choice while raising money to support the vital work of Action Mental Health.

You can read more here and still register by visiting:

On the activity front, the rescheduled Belfast Castle Abseil is now taking place this week, offering thrill seekers the chance to face their fears by scaling down the iconic city landmark, taking in amazing scenery. Additional measures are in place to keep participants safe and to ensure everyone adheres to current public health guidance.

Around Northern Ireland, a number of other iconic civic buildings will be embracing WMHD day, joining Action Mental Health in Going Purple to support our awareness and fundraising raising efforts.

For our annual #GoPurple event, AMH asks schools, businesses, churches, community groups, sports clubs and individuals to get involved, throughout October, to help raise awareness of positive mental health and also raise vital funds to support our services across Northern Ireland. Demand for our services continues to increase at a time when our fundraising income has been greatly reduced. All support received will make a real difference to local people.

In the North West, the beautiful Guild Hall will join AMH New Horizons Foyle clients who are going purple by illuminating the grand building, alongside the city’s Playhouse, VOID and the Derry City and Strabane District Council offices.

At AMH New Horizons Lisburn, clients will host a Go Purple coffee morning, while at AMH New Horizons Antrim’s behest, Antrim and Newtownabbey Council will also flood its three civic buildings in purple. AMH New Horizons Antrim will also be hosting its annual Art of Recovery art exhibition, featuring the artistry of clients, with the mayor, Councillor Jim Montgomery opening the popular event. The exhibition will run from October 6 to 29 at Clotworthy House, Antrim Castle Gardens. Staff at New Horizons Downpatrick will be treating clients to an online quiz, giving them a chance to pit their wits against each other in aid of WMHD.

AMH’s MensSana’s Healthy Me sessions, which promote positive mental health and well-being through interactive sessions at Northern Ireland’s primary schools, will be hosting special zoom sessions for teachers.

Through one-hour webinar sessions teachers will be encouraged to identify issues faced since returning to school from lockdown; raise awareness about the importance of looking after your mental health and highlight self-care techniques for building resilience and confidence. The sessions will also show how, and where, to access support and further information.

And that’s not all! AMH Works is hosting a Mental Health First Aid networking event to encourage Northern Ireland businesses to adopt and implement the training, which is designed to support employees’ mental health and well-being prior to them seeking specialist medical assistance. The event will feature a fantastic line up of panel members from a range of sectors and participants will have the opportunity to learn about what Mental Health First Aid is, the benefits of implementing it and the barriers organisations may be facing.

AMH Works has also been providing the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) for their ambulance personnel to better equip the frontline staff in circumstances involving people at risk of suicide or in the aftermath.

Our AMH MensSana team will also be hosting ‘Open’ Mindset and Provoking Thought sessions, these are AMH’s positive mental health and well-being promotion programmes designed for young people.

Follow us on social media to find out what else we will be up to!

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