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AWARE support group reopens in Downpatrick

AWARE support group reopens in Downpatrick

Published on Tuesday, 07 September 2021

Posted in News

AWARE, the depression charity for Northern Ireland, is reopening its Downpatrick support group. The group will meet weekly in a new venue, The Ballymote Centre. The first meeting will be on Tuesday 7th September. 

The support group, which welcomes people living with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, has been suspended since March 2020 after the pandemic forced its previous premises to close. 

During lockdown, the members have met in online groups facilitated by AWARE but are pleased to be getting together face-to-face once again. Audrey Slater, group attendee, said, “I’m looking forward to seeing people face-to-face again, having a coffee and a biscuit together and enjoying the social comfort of being back in the group. Meeting in person, you can see people’s smiles and warm gestures that you miss on a Zoom call. There is a physical welcome and a feeling of group solidarity by talking with people who understand depression because they have all been there themselves. I get a sense of security and support and have learned coping mechanisms from others in the group.”

AWARE has 24 support groups across Northern Ireland. Trained volunteers facilitate the free-to-attend groups. The groups provide a safe space to meet with others on a similar journey who can understand, encourage and suggest helpful coping methods. 

Cherry Cantrell, Support Services Officer at AWARE, said, “We are delighted to see the reopening of our Downpatrick group. The pandemic has been difficult for those living with mental ill-health, and coming to an AWARE group can be an excellent coping mechanism. We would urge anyone in the local area who feels like they could use some support to come along and meet with us in The Ballymote Centre. We are following government guidelines to ensure the group can reopen safely.” 

If you’re interested in coming along to the Downpatrick support group, don’t hesitate to get in touch with AWARE’s support services team at info@aware-ni.org