Aware was founded in 1985 by Dr. Patrick McKeon and a small but dedicated team of volunteers, many of whom had their own personal experience with depression, or bipolar disorder. The organisation developed in response to the clear need for information, understanding and support, both for individuals who had a diagnosis of depression or bipolar as well as family members supporting a loved one.
Since then, what began as one support group in Dublin has grown and flourished to become a nationwide presence which has saved many lives and has, for countless others, eased the suffering and distress that depression can bring. The three pillars of Aware’s work are information, education and support. The organisation provides a range of services including group meetings offering support and information, a telephone and email support service, and a number of programmes based on principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Educating and empowering people to look after their mental health is also an integral part of Aware’s work. Interactive talks and workshops in schools (for students aged 15-18) as well as education and training programmes for the workplace are delivered nationwide.
Aware believes that recovery from depression is possible.
Aware undertakes to create a society where people affected by stress, depression, bipolar and mood disorders are understood, supported, free from stigma, and are encouraged to access appropriate therapies.
- To inform and educate on the nature, extent and consequences of depression
- To provide emotional and practical support to those affected by depression, bipolar and related disorders
- To provide positive mental health and resilience training
- To support research into the development and treatment of depression and related issues
More than 450,000 people in Ireland experience depression (1 in 10) at any one time but many hide their condition and never get help. Aware’s message is one of hope: recovery is possible. Early intervention,as well as ongoing support are very important.