AWARE, the depression charity for Northern Ireland, is opening a mental health and wellbeing support group for young people aged 18-30 in Newry.
The group will have its first meeting on Wednesday, October 5 from 6-7pm in Altnaveigh House on Downshire Road.
The free-to-attend group is facilitated by AWARE’s trained volunteers, many of whom have personal experience of depression.
Anyone aged 18-30 who is experiencing low mood, depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder is welcome to come along. The groups provide a safe space to meet others going through similar experiences and discuss coping strategies.
Jordan Poucher, 22, from Newry is an AWARE support group member and volunteer. He will be facilitating the young people’s group in Newry.
Jordan joined AWARE after suffering from depression and anxiety for several years.
“Depression is a very lonely illness,” he said. “It’s easy to feel alienated. But when I sit down at an AWARE support group, I look around at smiling faces and people of all ages. I realise everybody is in the same boat as me. Everybody understands what I’m going through.
“I think a lot of people when you tell them you’re depressed, because you’re smiling and putting on that mask if you’re on a night out or you’re out in public, people look at you and think ‘there’s nothing wrong with him, he’s not depressed’.
“I realised from coming to the group that everybody with depression dons that mask but when you’re around other people with the illness, you don’t have to.
“I would encourage anybody who is struggling with their mental health to come along to a support group. I know myself how hard it is to walk through that door for the first time but I’m just so grateful I did. I’ve seen a massive improvement in my mood. I look forward to coming to the groups. I can really be myself.”
“We’re really looking forward to opening this new group for young people in Newry. So many young people are struggling with their mental health in silence and we want you to know that you are not alone. Mental ill-health is common and treatable. Our support groups offer you the chance to meet other people in the same boat and realise you aren’t alone.”
For more information or to attend a group, please email the AWARE team on firstname.lastname@example.org