A man from Omagh has set up a weekly free walk-in mental health session for the townspeople.
SOLACE, a social support group founded by Andy Campbell Co Tyrone The town aims to provide a safe space for locals to chat and interact with others.
This week, the group hosted an event to mark World Mental Health Day with the Twilight Walk and Run. Andy says it’s more important than ever for people to stay on top of their mental health.
“It started one Friday morning when some of us gathered for coffee to get out of the house for just an hour,” Andy told My Tyrone.
“This happened because of the lack of support from the legal authorities in the field. Mental health services were considered essential during the blockade and should have been exempt from restrictions, but were affected in the field. For those who have, many turn to.
“The helplessness and loneliness in the midst of all this was frustrating, so we came to the idea and conclusion that if no one else tried to help, we would have to help ourselves. This is how SOLACE is realized. “
Andy’s willingness to help others comes from his own mental health fight after being hospitalized for overdose.
“To date, I can’t pinpoint exactly what happened that day that made me want to do it,” he said.
“I have a loving family, a loving wife, and the people around me who took care of me. Even after spending a few days in the hospital, I asked for help through a doctor to see a psychiatrist. I had to fight.
“Recently, I have been diagnosed with personality disorder and emotional instability for the past decade, so that was what I had to agree on.”
Andy added that the main purpose of SOLACE is to allow people in the community to get together, talk about their experiences and help others.
“As the weeks go by, more and more people are beginning to notice the group and support is increasing. Some local businesses are joining us to support us financially and practically.” He said.
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“Currently, our session is a coffee drop in the morning and evening, people can drop in at Cuppa to chat and there is a safe environment. If anything bothers me, they will tell me about it. You can talk to us.
“We are by no means medically trained, but we all have mental health experience and will do our best to point people in the right direction and seek help.”
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