Brid O’Meara Director of Services with Aware volunteers Niall Jones and Colm Carey
Depression Awareness Week Nationwide (DAWN) Jan 18-22
Aware has announced that its theme for 2016 is ‘Stand Up For Surviving’, to highlight the fact that mental health issues do not mean an automatic life sentence and that many thousands of people survive experiences with depression or bipolar every year.
Speaking in Dublin today, Dr. Claire Hayes, Clinical Director with Aware said: “We know that depression and bipolar disorder are really challenging and can at times be quite harrowing conditions to deal with. Our concern is that often society’s reaction to and focus on suicide can perpetuate the idea that it is in some way a valid ‘option’ or an inevitable outcome.
“We want to remind people that there ARE helpful options available and that hundreds of thousands of individuals and families live through this journey and survive. The OECD reports that the average age of onset for all mental health issues is 14, with the average gap to treatment 12 years* , and I believe that we can all work together to encourage people to access help at an earlier stage. In that way we can help alleviate some of the pain and suffering going on across the country.”
To coincide with the DAWN campaign registration for two of Aware’s free Life Skills programmes is now available on aware.ie. The Life Skills programmes are available either online or in a group setting at selected locations nationwide. Based on principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) independent evaluations have shown a positive impact on symptoms of depression and anxiety. Aware also offers a range of support, education and information services catering for all age groups from 15 upwards.
In 2015, 30 years after its foundation, Aware received over 400,000 contacts throughout its information, support and education services. Dominic Layden, Chief Executive Officer, Aware, notes the extensive reach of Aware’s services in the past year:
- 12,600 visits to Aware support groups in almost 40 locations nationwide
- 27,950 students aged 15-18 in 479 schools across every county in Ireland participated in the 70-minute Beat the Blues talk
- Approx. 3,000 employees nationwide took part in Aware’s Wellness@Work programmes.
“In addition to these, we had:
- 285,000 visits to the website
- 173,000 views of our online lectures
- 11,000 calls to the Support Line
- 2,300 emails to the Support Mail service
All indicating a real need for information and support around depression and bipolar. Every single day Aware services are used by people whose lives are impacted by these common conditions, and we regularly hear feedback from people whose lives have changed, or indeed been saved, thanks to the support and insight they have gained from Aware. I sincerely hope that these results will encourage more people to reach out for help and that, in 2016, we all stand up for surviving.”
*Sick on the Job? Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work, OECD, 2012