THE Southern Health and Social Care Trust and Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council have teamed up to provide a new health project.
Marie Loughran, Health Facilitator, and Eileen Canavan, Learning Disability Community Access Officer, from the Trust are promoting leisure activities at Dungannon Leisure Centre and emphasising the need to attend annual check-ups with a GP.
The HIM initiative aims to raise awareness of the health needs of men with a learning disability in the council area. Eileen explains: “The Health Initiative for Men (HIM) project aims to raise awareness of the health needs of men with a learning disability in Dungannon and South Tyrone.
“Men are reluctant to attend their GP practice for health screening, such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and bowel and prostate checks.
She added: “Marie is working with users and their carers on the importance of having health checks. We’re working with the Council on opening up opportunities for men to access activities and sports to improve their physical and mental health.”
Special Olympic golf gold medallist Patrick Donnelly works at the Council as a gardener and accesses local leisure facilities
He said: “Sport is important to me and so is my health. I’m having my annual GP check-up next week.”
Councillor Phelim Gildernew, Mayor of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council, encouraged local men to take part in the project.
He said: “We’re delighted that Patrick has a placement with the Environmental Services Team and that he can practice his sport in the borough.
“The introduction of the project coincides with International Day of People with Disabilities and the theme this year is ‘removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all’.
“With the support of the Southern Trust, we hope the health promotion project will raise awareness of the need for men with a learning disability to exercise regularly and attend their GP for health screening.”