A non-profit organisation called 'Go Mental NI', which provides free mental health services to the local community, has recently been set up in Omagh.
Go Mental NI was founded by the husband and wife team of Brian and Marcella Campbell, who run the very successful Rosewood Health and Wellbeing on the Tamlaght Road in Omagh.
They have received funding from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and from SSE Airtricity Community Fund to provide workshops and counselling to people most in need.
During the first period of lockdown, Brian and Marcella decided they wanted to make the services they provide in Rosewood more accessible to their community.
Brian explained: "Go mental NI is a non-profit organisation which provides free and subsidised mental health services like mental health workshops, counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
"During the current pandemic, cases of social isolation, depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide have soared. Local mental health teams are struggling to keep up with demand and a lot of people who never experienced mental health issues are now.
"We have stresses at work, and at home, people are losing their jobs and businesses. People are worried about family members, afraid to visit their older and shielding relations and neighbours.
"Normal things like going out to socialise, older people going to their day clubs, younger people going to school, and even something as simple as getting your hair cut, has changed.
"We started by running a really successful internet safety event for our local school St Conor's PS and found this really rewarding and knew that getting more involved in our community was the direction we needed to go.
"We have since run a pilot scheme where we provided eight free workshops where people could attend in person in Rosewood or attend via Zoom. This was a great success and we quickly realised there is a real need for this to educate people about how to be more resilient, mentally stronger and hopefully build in certain coping strategies in certain situations.
"Even things like relationships and family pressures can be difficult to deal with, but communication and supportiveness need to be brought into everyday family life and generally it's only a matter of pointing someone in the right direction.
"We applied for funding to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to subside a set of workshops and thankfully these will take place over the next few months. We also applied to the SSE community fund for funding for counselling CBT and couple coaching for key workers.
"We now can provide four free sessions to a limited number of key workers."
The response from the community has been fantastic, said Brian.
"They have been so supportive," he added.
"We have had people call into Rosewood and donate money which we put towards these programmes, and if you would like to donate go to the 'Go Mental NI' Facebook page.
"Conor Keys, from Focus - in the Community House - has been great in advising me on funding applications, and we are currently in the process of applying for funding for music therapy and art therapy which, if successful, we can roll out in the new year to older people and people with learning disabilities."
Brian also wants to hear from other community groups, charities and voluntary organisations who would be interested in a joint funding application.
He concluded: "Go Mental NI is a perfect fit to run beside our normal business. We have a brilliant team in place and already provide all these services within private practice, but we can now apply for funding to make services available to everyone in our community."
A ‘personal resilience’ workshop will take place remotely on Thursday, November 5 at 7pm. The facilitator will be Seanie Meyler, of Meyler Performance. The cost of £20 is subsidised by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Tickets are available through Eventbrite.
Other workshops planned in the future, with yet dates to be confirmed, are ‘coping with stress and anxiety’, ‘introduction to mindfulness’, ‘building self - confidence’ and ‘understanding good mental health’.
They will take place both remotely and at Rosewood Health and Wellbeing.