Funding to help mental health

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TWO Mid Ulster groups have been awarded funding of almost £15,000 to help improve the mental health of local people.

Mid Ulster Ladies Football team, based in Cookstown, is to receive £4,275 to run the Girls Allowed Project.

And Involve in Magherafelt has been awarded £10,000 for its Carefully Yours project which will help those with mental health and learning difficulties.

The cash is from the Lottery Fund’s Healthy Minds NI programme which supports activities to improve the mental health and well-being of local people.

The Mid Ulster Ladies Football team project will offer activities, therapies and workshops to help the women and girls who play cope with the stresses of everyday life.

“This is a great club and we have female players from seven up to adult level playing here,” explained Chairperson Elaine Junk.

“You don’t need to be really skilful to enjoy playing the sport and joining in means you not only improve your fitness, but it’s a chance to make new friends and gain a great support network.

“This project will mean we can continue to improve the physical health of our players, and add to that by improving their mental health too. Girls these days face all kinds of pressure in their lives from their peers, to school and just growing up, while women are dealing with thing like the stress of the recession, family issues and work.

“So we’ll be running courses covering areas such as stress management, healthy eating, suicide awareness, drug and alcohol awareness and advice on domestic abuse. And there will also be therapies such as aromatherapy and massage available.

If you’re interested in getting involved in the club go to www.midulsterlfc.com for further details or contact Clare Charles 07968 344274.

Michele McKeown, from Involve which is based in Castledawson, explained that the project will provide sessions on assertiveness, self-confidence, cultural identity and job seeking skills. “It’s hoped that over 200 people in the Magherafelt and Cookstown areas will benefit from this project.”

“A lot of people with mental health issues suffer from depression, which leads to low self esteem, so it’s a struggle for them to leave the house.

“The project will try to address these issues by running personal development and learning activities with a fun element, such as game nights and talks. It will be fun, visual and verbal.

Magherafelt woman Cathy McKillop, 34, who has learning difficulties, has really seen her confidence improve since joining the group. “I took part in one of Involve’s confidence building projects two years ago,” she said.

Cathy continued: “I made lots of new friends and the course helped boost my self esteem which had been quite low. I’m looking forward to taking part in this new project too.”