02 Dec 2021

Become Aware of mental health at free meetings in Portlaoise

The Mental health charity Aware continues to see a clear demand for out-of-hours mental health support and is encouraging people who are seeking help to attend its weekly meeting in Portlaoise.

Aware delivers a range of free, effective support services for people impacted by depression, Bi Polar and other mood related disorders. Data from 2016 shows a clear need and demand for out-of-hours mental health support.

Bríd O’Meara, director of services with Aware says that Aware’s support services provide a real and effective option for people whose lives are impacted, often severely, by depression, bipolar disorder and related mental health conditions.

“These conditions can be severe and enduring, but there are helpful options that can make a difference for so many people and families. Aware’s services are effective in helping people to manage the impact of these conditions; we often hear that Aware’s support has changed a person’s life, and sometimes has saved someone’s life.

“Mental health care in this country is traditionally available during standard office hours. Metrics of Aware services show that people are actively seeking support outside of these hours and Aware volunteers are here for them,” he said.

Aware offer 39 support groups nationwide and the vast majority of these are in the evening time. In 2016, they had a total of 11,550 visits to their support groups.

Ms O’Meara said that a significant number of people are accessing weekly, out-of-hours support which helps them through what can be the darkest of times, and also helps maintain wellness.

“Interestingly, at Aware support groups, 54% of attendees are male with 46% female. This challenges the usual trend in healthcare that suggests men are less likely to seek help than women,” she said.

Liam is one person who has attended the meetings.

“I started to attend Aware meetings and I identified with people’s experiences. I felt safe and my confidence and sense of self-worth started to grow.

“I developed and used the tips and skills that were passed on to me by other members. I have my self-worth and esteem back...a quiet confidence, and my will to live, a ‘gra’ for life”, said Liam.

Portlaoise’s Aware Support Group meets every Tuesday from 7.45pm to 9:15pm in the Parish Centre in St Peter & Pauls Church, Stradbally.

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