More and more people are being supported by AWARE

More and more people are being supported by AWARE

Published on Friday, 07 October 2016

Posted in News

A charity that helps people with depression has today said that within the last year, they have delivered services to almost 30,000 people in Northern Ireland.

AWARE was set up in 1996 to give support and advice to people with depression and has now expanded their services to deliver well-being programmes into communities, schools, colleges and workplaces across Northern Ireland. AWARE also have self-help support groups which supported upwards of 4000 people last year.

Depression is increasing and it is currently the leading cause of disability in the world.

Siobhan Doherty is the Chief Executive of AWARE and said,

“On World Mental Health Day this year it is important to reflect on the impact that the illness of depression can have on a person and the people around them. 

“Approximately 1 in 5 people in Northern Ireland will experience a problem with their mental health at some stage in their life. The remaining 4 people will know someone who is experiencing a mental health problem.

“AWARE is here to support people suffering with depression, but also to support people that care for someone with the illness. AWARE operate 23 Support Groups in major towns and cities right across Northern Ireland. These supports groups have been described by many as life-saving.”

Mark Kelly has completed his Support Group facilitator training with AWARE and helps facilitate his local group in Derry, the same group he attended himself when he needed help.

“This is a voluntary role and one which I thoroughly enjoy. AWARE helped me realise that I enjoy helping other people and being able to give something back to AWARE means a lot to me. 

“I was first diagnosed with depression in 2009 but lived with it in my early teens. I would say that for a long time, I was ‘comfortably stuck in a rut.’”

“But October 2014 was a turning point for me. I started to study business at college and had a strong realisation that I needed to do something positive for myself. My younger cousin, Paddy, was always very supportive of me and always had a very optimistic view on things which inspired me to help myself and do something about the depression I was living with.”

Unfortunately, in February 2015, Paddy took his own life which was a massive shock for Mark. Paddy was like a little brother to him. The sudden death of his younger cousin gave Mark the push he needed to seek help for himself. Mark continued,

“Not long after Paddy’s death, I attended the Tuesday evening Support Group in the AWARE Offices in Derry. The night I went to this group represented a ‘massive turning point’ for me personally.

“I reached out to a lot of groups for help but it was AWARE that reached back to me. AWARE has a real sense of community and understanding with no patronising or negativity towards people suffering with depression and bipolar disorder. 

“AWARE saved my life and for that I always be thankful.”

If you are suffering from depression or bipolar disorder and would like advice or support, please contact AWARE today. Visit their website at or contact either the Belfast or Derry Office. The number are 028 9035 7820 or 028 7126 0602.  

Tags: AWARE | aware-ni_org | Charity | Depression | Derry | Fundraising | Londonderry | Mark Kelly | Mental Health | Siobhan Doherty | Support Groups | World Mental Health Day