It has been estimated that one in six of the population in Northern Ireland have a mental health need at any one time, with rates of depression associated with unemployment, low educational achievement and social deprivation. Workplace stress can contribute to mental ill health. Children and young people are suffering anxiety and depression and perinatal mental health also contributes.
Local charity AWARE has been supporting those in Northern Ireland affected by depression and mental health disorders since 1996. It now operates 24 support groups across the country as well as offering programmes in wellbeing and mindfulness.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in Northern Ireland is joining forces with AWARE Northern Ireland, its charity of the year, in a bid to help break down the stigma surrounding mental health.
Throughout 2017, CIPR NI members and the regional committee will fundraise to support the implementation of further Mood Matters Education and Training Programmes in schools, as the charity reports a rise in mental health issues among young people. The partnership will also seek to increase awareness and understanding of mental health disorders in Northern Ireland.
Speaking as the partnership was launched, AWARE’s Corporate Fundraising Officer Colleen Millagan commented
“We have a continuous mountain to climb in breaking down the stigma of talking about our mental health here in Northern Ireland. Whilst fundraising for our different programmes is always a priority for us, we’re looking forward to working with the CIPR NI to further highlight the importance of seeking help for any mental health needs.”
Sinead Doyle, CIPR NI chair added
“Mental health is still a taboo subject in Northern Ireland but charities such as AWARE are helping to break down these barriers, allowing people to talk more freely and openly about conditions like depression, stress and anxiety, which are so commonplace today.
“CIPR NI is proud to partner with AWARE and we hope the funds we raise, and the pro bono communications expertise we can offer through our committee and wider membership network, will help to highlight the great work of this charity.”
To learn more about AWARE visit www.aware-ni.org.
Disclaimer- I’m on the CIPR NI committee & delighted to be supporting the work of AWARE. Check out their important work.
Sara McCracken works in communications for an educational body. She previously worked for the Green Party for #AE16 and in the health sector.