Aware support and self care groups offer peer to peer support for adults

According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organisation, more than 300 million people worldwide and approximately 450,000 people (one in 10 ) in Ireland are now living with depression.

An estimated 45,000 (one in 100 ) people have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Mental health organisation Aware provides support and information around depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and other mood related conditions. The organisation is also committed to educate and empower people to look after their health through adult, school, and workplace based education programmes.

The Aware support and self care groups, located in Ballinrobe and Castlebar, Mayo offer a unique opportunity for people, over the age of 18, to talk openly about depression, bipolar disorder and other related conditions and their impact. Peers share their experience and understanding and offer an exchange of thoughts and techniques around self-care and resilience in a supportive, confidential and proactive environment.

The Ballinrobe support and self care group meets in the Tacú Family Resource Centre, Credit Union House, Main Street, Ballinrobe, every Thursday at 8pm. The Castlebar support and self care group meets in the St Vincent de Paul Centre (opposite Griffiths Garage ), Auray Place, Newport Road, Castlebar, every Tuesday at 8pm.

What happens at an Aware support and self care group?

When you arrive at an Aware support group, you are greeted by two Aware volunteer facilitators who provide you with literature about Aware services. A facilitator opens the meeting by outlining the group rules including confidentiality and explaining the purpose of the Aware support group.

Facilitators introduce themselves by their first name only and invite all attending to do likewise. The meeting is declared open to anyone who would like to share. Someone in the group shares their thoughts and feelings. To gain understanding for the group, a facilitator may ask some questions to clarify what has been shared.

The facilitator asks the person sharing if they want feedback from the group and if so, opens to the group for their thoughts and support. A facilitator briefly summarises any options offered by the group before allowing the space for others to share. A proactive approach is used throughout the support group meeting in which participants can express emotion, acknowledge feelings, question thoughts and beliefs and focus particularly on helpful actions they can take.

For more information on Aware support and self care groups, visit www.aware.ie

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