A special event was held to celebrate local mental health charity MindWise’s fifth Birthday and the work MindWise does in the local community.
This event also acknowledged the generous donation from Ulster Carpets to the resource centre.
MindWise is Northern Ireland’s only membership based mental health charity, which demerged from the national charity Rethink on 1 April 2009. They deliver 35 key services, run by 100 professional staff and 108 volunteers. With the backing of their 350 members they raise awareness and help more than 1000 people who are affected by mental health issues to tackle their problems each day.
The guests for this occasion were Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Mark Baxter, Ms Darleen Buchanan, Ulster Carpet, Councillor Carla Lockhart, Councillor Noel McGeown and service users from MindWise Lurgan.
Speaking at the event, Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Mark Baxter, was keen to help promote awareness of mental illness and to show his support for the valuable work that MindWise does in the Council area.
Speaking at the event he said: “I am aware of the work that MindWise does and that as many as one in four local people can be affected by mental illness at any one time. I am happy to lend my support to the invaluable work MindWise does not only to support those affected but also the equally important campaigning and lobbying activities the charity undertakes to raise awareness of mental illness. I wish them every success as MindWise and I hope that public support for them continues and grows”.
Ms Dalreen Buchanan, Business Support Manager, Ulster Carpets said the work of Mindwise makes a real difference not only to individuals but also to their families and friends.
She said: “This support, to enable people affected with a mental health condition to lead a fulfilling life, is a vital and essential service in our community.
On behalf of Ulster Carpets I would like to wish Joice Mathew and the MindWise Team continued success with their programme and Happy Fifth Anniversary.”
Mr Jonathan Thompson, service user from MindWise Lurgan said: “I have been dealing with mental ill health in my life since I was a teenager and before I came to MindWise I often felt very isolated and alone.
“I have been attending MindWise since 2012 and it gives me the opportunity to get out of the house, meet with other people and take part in loads of activities that keep me busy and exercise my mind.
“I have enjoyed different work shop activities such as drama, art projects, music, day trips, health and well being, food and diet programs etc in MindWise Lurgan. I have enjoyed boccia, boxercise, computer, music, storytelling, cooking, dance and mosaic which is both therapeutic and creative and helped me to relax. This in turn stimulates my thoughts and my mind because I am naturally creative. I find staff and volunteers are very approachable and supportive with all my difficulties and helped me to support myself to manage my mental health.
“I find it’s great - it helps you realise you are not alone, and there are people with similar problems out there, so I don’t feel inhibited by my mental health condition when I am there.
“I get the chance to get involved in community life, mix with other people and feel part of something. I can have a bit of input, and I don’t feel isolated anymore - I’m part of a whole and that’s a good feeling.”
“MindWise has boosted my confidence and self-esteem and I’m a much more outgoing and positive person. Having the support of MindWise has transformed my life.”
The service manager, Joice Mathew said: “Our service users have experienced a wide range of mental health challenges and issues, dealing with isolation, loneliness, discrimination, and lack of access to services and information to help them tackle their illness.
“Our resource centre here in Lurgan offers a range of activities and person-centred support based on our ethos of promoting recovery. As a fledgling independent charity though, now more than ever we are calling on local people and businesses to help support our work in any way possible to help us run existing services and to develop new ones,” said Joice.
“I would like to thank Mayor of Craigavon Mark Baxter, Ms Darleen Buchanan, Ulster Carpets, Councillor Ms Carla Lockhart, Councillor Noel Mc Geown, community mental health team, other agencies, staff, volunteers, and all service users for promoting awareness about mental health and vulnerable people to the public via this event.”