THE importance of delivering bespoke community-mental health services in Mid-Ulster was underlined at a round table discussion held this week at the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health’s day-support centre in Magherafelt.
The event, which was hosted by centre manager Tracey Donaghy, was attended by local MLA Patsy McGlone as well as a number of service users.
Speaking at the event, Ms Donaghy said: “The Transforming your Care initiative means that increasing levels of service for those requiring mental health will be delivered in the community.
“Across Northern Ireland NIAMH places special focus on developing and delivering tailored mental health service provision to individuals and communities. A one-size-fits all approach does not meet the needs of individuals and this bespoke provision is vital.”
Part of the discussion focused on the big issue of welfare reform, and Mr McGlone congratulated the 12 service users who recently completed the Open College Network (OCN) Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Your Benefits.
The course was a joint initiative spearheaded by NIAMH as part of the Big Lottery funded Live and Learn programme and delivered through a partnership with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and OCN.
Speaking at the meeting, Patsy McGlone MLA said: “The impact of welfare reform will be felt by communities across Mid-Ulster and I congratulate all of those who successfully completed the OCN course. Events like today day provide the opportunity for important listening exercises which public representatives can use to inform policy and political decisions. The changing landscape in service provision is an opportunity to deliver services targeted at each individual and I support NIAMH’s work in this arena.”
The discussion also focussed on community engagement, education and support. NIAMH’s campaign to ‘Change Your Mind – Stamp Out Stigma’ aims to reduce stigma faced by service users in the community by educating various groups within the community about mental health and wellbeing. With one in four of us now affected by mental ill-health, a greater understanding of it is essential.
Centre Manager Tracey Donaghy said: “We have been working hard to raise the awareness of mental health and wellbeing in the local community and have been engaging in activities to help our service users feel part of the community they live in. We were heavily involved in the Olympic Torch celebrations, and are very excited that our World Mental Health Day event will be one of the first to take place in the newly refurbished Leisure Centre. We look forward to welcoming the local community to that on October 10.”