AWARE invites public to register for new positive mental health programmes in Mayo

Feel like learning some new skills to better deal with life’s ups and downs? Are you supporting a loved one living with depression or bipolar disorder? Aware, Ireland’s national charity supporting people affected by depression, bipolar disorder and mood-related conditions, is to host a number of free positive mental health programmes in Mayo starting in September.

Aware’s Life Skills Programme, which is open to anyone wishing to learn new ways of dealing with life’s ups and downs, and its Relatives & Friends Programme, for those supporting a loved one experiencing depression or bipolar disorder, get underway at the TF Royal Hotel, Castlebar, on Wednesday September 11 and Tuesday September 10 respectively, at 7.30pm.

The Life Skills Programme takes place over a period of six weeks, while the Relatives & Friends Programme is over four weeks. The programmes are open to people aged 18 years and over. You can secure your place with a booking deposit of €30 (€10 for students, and those who are unemployed or over 65 years or who hold a medical card ) – refundable at the end of the programme – by visiting www.aware.ie/education It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 people in Ireland who experience depression at any one time, while there are approximately 45,000 people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Depression and bipolar disorder are mental health conditions that can affect your thinking, energy, feelings and behaviour. While they can vary from mild to severe, and impact on relationships, family and work lives, it is possible to find ways to manage the conditions, and to lead healthy and productive lives.

According to Bríd O’Meara, Aware’s Director of Services, the new programmes are designed to help people better cope with the challenges in their lives: “The Life Skills Programme is designed to give people insights into how we think and how this can influence our actions in both helpful and unhelpful ways. Based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy, each session is guided by our trained facilitator to help people better manage the stresses of everyday life, learning to spot unhelpful thoughts and discovering new and healthier ways of thinking. It is important to emphasise that confidentiality is the bedrock of the programme and nobody is asked to share personal information or experiences. The results speak for themselves with evaluations showing participants experiencing reduced levels of anxiety and improved mood on completion of the programme.

“Our Relatives & Friends Programme is about providing participants with the emotional and practical skills they need themselves while supporting a loved one who is experiencing depression or bipolar disorder. The programme offers coping tools to help people deal with their circumstances as well as helping to improve communication skills in their relationships. It also offers advice on self-care and every person goes away with their own personal action plan to better address challenges at home, which benefits both themselves and their loved ones. People attending this programme really gain from meeting others in similar circumstances to themselves and in sharing that sense of mutual understanding and support.”

If you are worried about depression or bipolar disorder, you can call the Aware Support Line on Freephone 1800 80 48 48 or email [email protected]

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