23 Sept: “Let’s talk about it …… a conversation on depression”

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Charity to host public talk to highlight the issue of depression in Bangor and advise how they can help local people

 Public Talks LogoAware Logo Full Colour Background

Local mental health charity AWARE (formerly known as Aware Defeat Depression) are hosting a series of public talks throughout Northern Ireland entitled, ‘Let’s talk about it… a conversation on depression.’

The first in these series of talks will be held in the Marine Court Hotel in Bangor on Wednesday 23 September 2015 at 7pm. As the only charity in Northern Ireland dedicated to helping those with depression, the charity hope that the public talks will help de-stigmatise the illness of depression and encourage more people to talk about it.

AWARE believe that it is important that people with depression and those close to them, know how to access relevant and important information on the illness to help them better understand it, and help them in their journey to recovery.

Each public talk will follow a similar format with several guest speakers invited. AWARE will have experts in the field of mental health to talk about depression and explain the illness from a professional point of view as well as someone who has used their services and is now recovering from depression. Speaking at the event will be a carer giving a carers perspective on what it is like looking after someone with depression and a GP talking about their experience of assessing and treating depression.

Each area in which the charity visits has a specialised support group dedicated to providing help and support for people with depression. On the night of the public talk, AWARE will have the facilitators from the local Bangor support group held in The North Down Community Resource Centre to talk to people and give them more information about the groups and how they can attend the next meeting if they feel it would be beneficial to them.

Attending the event will be Bangor Support Group facilitator, Sharon Porter. Sharon herself suffered from depression and knows only too well how isolating and lonely people with the illness can feel.

 Sharon said,  “I didn’t have a clue what was wrong with me or how to explain exactly what the matter was.   I was confused. Oh and felt guilty too – there was no reason I should be like this? I was fortunate to have a good job, house, lovely husband and new baby, but I was miserable inside and at times painfully so.

“Stumbling upon an Aware leaflet intrigued me. I was able to look up their website and get so much information from the safety of my own home. Aware explained how depression is an illness and most importantly a treatable illness. Their literature put words to my thoughts and feelings and led me to see that I wasn’t on my own – many others struggled with the illness.

“A long time after first hearing of Aware, I worked up the courage to ring their office and ask if I could volunteer with them as I wanted others to know there was hope of ‘recovery’. I have been a Support Group Facilitator with the Bangor Group for the last few years.

“Finally I would like to dispel the myth that we all sit round in a circle looking depressed, being depressed and leaving depressed. Please don’t misunderstand me, from personal experience I know depression is serious and some nights there are difficult conversations; but there is also learning, encouragement and positivity with usually some fun and laughter in the mix too.

“If you are thinking of coming to a group but nervous or unsure why not come and say hello to me and the other Bangor Facilitators at the Marine Court – at least you will then recognise one face when you are ready to visit the support group.”

If you are interested in coming along to the event or you would like further information, please get in touch with Mark based in our Belfast Office on 028 9035 7820 or visit our website for more information on www.aware-ni.org

ENDS

3-9-2015

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • As well as running 22 support groups throughout Northern Ireland, AWARE also deliver education and training programmes into schools and community settings teaching people the importance of looking out for their mental health.
  • According to the World Health Organisation Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/)
  • 1 in 4 people will suffer from a form of mental illness at some point in their life.
  • AWARE operate a helpline available Monday to Friday from 9am to 1pm. The number is 08451 20 29 61.
  • For more information on the Public Talks please contact Support Services Manager, Mark Dyer by email mark@aware-ni.org or phone on 028 9035 7820.
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