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Community Health

Young People to Benefit From New Support Group From AWARE

A NEW mental health support group for young people is starting next month.

Aware, a local mental health charity is hoping the new support group for 18-30-year olds, which starts on December 8, will create a safe place for people to discuss their mental health issues.

Joy Robinson, a community outreach worker for the South Eastern Health Trust, explained that alot of people have experienced depression and anxiety but a suffering in silence.

“A recent survey found that one in eight young people have experienced emotional difficulties that meet the criteria for mood and anxiety disorders so there are a lot of people out there suffering in silence” said Joy. “It is so important that they realise they are not alone and this is a common problem. We hope that having a dedicated group for this specific age group will encourage mote people in this demographic to come forward and get support.”

Living with depression, anxiety or bipolar can be very isolating. This will be a peer-led support group which will bring people together who are going through similar experiences, allowing them to speak freely about their experiences and realise that they are not alone.

“We have factsheets and information available and can suggest online education to help them better understand their illness. Support group members can share information, discuss options and support each other to move forward.” At our first meeting we will be chatting over pizza and we want to get input from the group about what sort of activities and format they would like to take, it will be very much co-designed by the people who attend.

“The group will focus on activities that help make people feel relaxed and give them a ‘tool kit’ of strategies to help themselves outside of the group. We may undertake activities that help us to relax, helping people get into a calm state during the meeting and giving them something to take away with them to keep in their own tool kit of self-help strategies” said Joy.

“The activities we do will also be focused on making people feel comfortable and at ease with each other, to allow the peer-led support to really come into play. At Aware, we fully believe in the power of peer support and have seen it work beautifully in our other support groups, of which there are around 25 of in the country. Our ‘regular’ Newry Support Group continues to meet at 7.30pm every Wednesday evening in Altnaveigh House,

One of our Newry Support Group members, Jordan has suffered with depression and anxiety for several years. “I first attended the Aware Support Group in Newry early 2021 and have never looked back” said the 21-year-old. “Through the power of an Aware Support Group I have learnt new skills, techniques and coping mechanisms that have taken me from the darkest of places to a brighter life. I have enjoyed watching other group members’ progression and improvement as they continue on their path of recovery. I am also looking forward to taking part in some of the Wellbeing Programmes which Aware offers such as the ‘Mood Matters’ Course”

The Aware Young Persons Support Group launches December 8 from 7pm to 8.30pm in IG Podiatry and Wellbeing Clinic, Newtownards. The support group will meet fortnightly and if anyone is interested in attending or has any questions, contact Joy by email at joy@aware-ni.org.

ENDS

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