Former hostage Terry Waite in Belfast to support AWARE

Former hostage Terry Waite in Belfast to support AWARE

Published on Friday, 01 April 2016

Posted in News

Author and humanitarian Terry Waite jetted into Belfast yesterday to speak at AWARE’s conference in the Europa Hotel.


Sharing his experiences with the audience about his captivity in Beirut in the 1980s, Mr Waite talked openly about the terror he faced being held in a cell underneath a carpark and not seeing another human being for more than four years. Despite this misery, he has been able to use his story positively to help others in hostage situations and is still regularly involved with hostage negotiations across the world. 


During AWARE’s conference, which is part of the charity’s 20th anniversary celebrations this year, Mr Waite, who has family from South Belfast, gave personal advice on what he does to maintain his own mental health and wellbeing. These included, not having regrets or self-pity, be grateful for what you have and live in the moment. He also agreed that suffering from mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and talking about it is the way of breaking down the stigma associated with it.


Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster after the conference, Mr Waite said,


“Suffering is always painful, but it need not destroy. Something creative can emerge from it, but you need to enable something creative to emerge from it.”


Siobhan Doherty, Chief Executive for AWARE said,


“It was great to have Terry’s support and his personal story, although harrowing it made a real impact on the day’s events. We need more high profile advocates for mental health as 1 in 4 people in Northern Ireland will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives, so the more we do to raise the profile and break down the stigma the better.


“As the leading charity in Northern Ireland that helps people with depression and mental illness, AWARE is committed to ongoing development and support - this is why we have a full calendar of events taking place during this year to compliment the work carried out by our 23 province wide support groups and programmes so those with depression will not feel that they are suffering in silence.”

Tags: Conference | Depression | Europa Hotel | Faith | Hope | hostage | Mental Health | Terry Waite