An Omagh man is aiming to help tackle the mental health crisis on a local level by providing support to those in need.
Andy Campbell, 43, says the pandemic has reduced access to mental health services as well as increasing the need that has come with the accompanying lock-downs and financial hardship faced by many.
He told the Ulster Herald, “I haven’t had much support over the past year and a half, not even from the mental health team. I went well over a year without any calls up until February just past.”
In an effort to help, Andy, who is part of the SOLACE support group, is hosting a coffee morning to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day tomorrow (Friday) along with a ‘Sunrise walk’ at dusk on Saturday.
“If we’re not going to help ourselves, then nobody is going to,” he said.
It is hoped that the coffee morning will become a more regular event to allow people who may be suffering from mental health difficulties and loneliness to drop in for support.
Andy said, “At the minute, it’s just more of an informal social gathering to get people out of the house. Eventually, our aim would be to get our own premises and have a drop-in every day.
“When you’re sitting on your own in the house, like for those who may not have a family, your mind goes into overdrive, so it would be good to give people a place where they could just drop in and talk to somebody or even just to socialise.”
Andy has called for the health service to marshal efforts behind the mental health crisis to ensure everyone in need has access to the appropriate services.
The weekly coffee mornings take place from 11am to 2pm every Friday at Omagh Community Church and the sunrise walk will begin at 6:30am on Saturday.
To donate to the SOLACE group, click here.
BY JAMES KELLY