This week, in the lead up to World Mental Health Day on Saturday (October 10), the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough visited several groups to thank them for the crucial role they play in promoting positive mental health and wellbeing among local people.
Action Mental Health (AMH) New Horizons in Craigavon, The Right Key Recovery Centre in Loughbrickland, Armagh Men’s Shed and Links Counselling Service in Lurgan were among those to be recognised for providing a vital community resource.
Acknowledging the high value he places on the work of all local groups with a mental health improvement focus, Lord Mayor Councillor Kevin Savage commented: “World Mental Health Day presents a prime opportunity to publicly acknowledge the incredible work that these long-established groups, as well as many others in this borough, do to support people who are experiencing mental health issues, recovering from mental ill health or most at risk of developing a mental illness such as marginalised and vulnerable groups.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the critical need for good mental health interventions, responses and support during this time.
“This year, more than ever, when uncertainty and major changes to the way we live our lives are having a considerable impact on people’s mental health, it’s reassuring to know that these groups are already well placed at the heart of our communities and making mental health support easily accessible to those in greatest need.”
Also conveying his appreciation, Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Kyle Savage added: “I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit just a few of the groups available within our borough who are working hard within the community.
“There is such great benefit to be had from getting involved with a community group to increase wellbeing and a sense of togetherness. I, along with the Lord Mayor, wanted to showcase that there is help out there and to raise awareness that many people have been struggling through this pandemic.
“I am especially interested in the rural and farming communities and will always endeavour to make sure that farmers get a fair share of the profits throughout the food chain.”
Based at Tannaghmore Gardens, Action Mental Health (AMH) New Horizons helps adults recovering from mental ill health by offering person-centred programmes that support their recovery. People can benefit from a range of training programmes to help build confidence and self-esteem, gain new skills, qualifications and improve career opportunities. They also run a fully functioning garden nursery.
The leading mental health charity also delivers other services in the borough. AMH MensSana operates Your Protect Life Resource Service in the southern area with a focus on suicide, self-harm prevention and mental health promotion. AMH everyBODY supports people with eating disorders and their families.
The Right Key, based at the Old Primary School in Loughbrickland, works with people on their recovery journey including mental health, addiction, trauma and brokenness, working with them to help rebuild lives and offer support.
They use music and other creative arts along with counselling and group support sessions for recovery and wellness, and have recently developed a specific programme that addresses the anxiety, stress and hopelessness that Covid-19 is causing in communities.
They also make musical instruments/crafts and provide a Recovery Café for those on other programmes, which will soon to be open to the wider public.
Armagh Men’s Shed provides a welcoming place for men – many of whom are retired – to come together to socialise, share and learn new skills as well as work together on a variety of projects.
This benefits members’ health and wellbeing as it provides a different focus in life, builds positive social relationships and creates a sense of belonging.
Links Counselling Service exists to provide counselling in the community for children, young people adults and couples, with a vision that no one will journey alone through difficult times.
It offers early intervention to those struggling with their mental health by offering timely and effective therapeutic support.
In addition to recognising the good work of local groups, the Council will light up several of its buildings green on Saturday evening to support World Mental Health Day and encourage local people to prioritise their mental health in the months ahead.
To enable local people to easily access professional support and counselling for a range of issues that may be affecting their mental health, the Council has published a Directory of Support Services and Crisis Helplines with the contact details of more than 50 charities and organisations at www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk/health-wellbeing-directory
For more information on World Mental Health Day, visit www.wmhd2020.com and follow #WorldMentalHealthDay #WMHD2020