The Aware group in Castlebar hosts a weekly local Support and Self Care Group every Tuesday at 7pm in Castlebar Social Services on Castle St (F26 CY67).
There is no cost and no referral needed to attend this group which is for people who experience depression, bipolar disorder and mood-related conditions.
Anyone – irrespective of age, gender or background can be affected by such mental health issues. Recovery is possible but early recognition and ongoing support are key to a positive outcome.
Aware Support and Self Care Groups offer an opportunity to talk openly about mental health issues and their impact.
At the group meetings peers share their experience and understanding and offer an exchange of thoughts and techniques around self-care and resilience in a supportive, confidential and proactive environment.
When you arrive at a Support and Self-Care Group, you are greeted by two Aware volunteer facilitators and provided with literature about Aware services.
The facilitators open the meeting, providing an overview of what you can expect.
Facilitators introduce themselves by their first name only and invite all attending to do likewise. The meeting is declared open to anyone who would like to share.
A person in the group shares their thoughts and feelings. To gain understanding for the group the facilitator may ask some questions to clarify what has been shared.
The facilitator asks the person sharing if they want feedback from the group and if so, opens to the group for their thoughts and support.
A facilitator briefly summarises any options offered by the group before inviting others to share.
A proactive approach is used throughout the meeting in which participants can express emotion, acknowledge feelings, question thoughts and beliefs and focus on helpful actions they can take.
Any adult who is experiencing depression, bipolar disorder or mood-related condition is welcome.
No referral is needed although if attending a doctor or therapist, Aware recommends that they are kept informed.
All Support and Self Care Group attendees agree to keep everything that is said and takes place at the meeting completely confidential.
This is essential in allowing each person the safety to express whatever he or she would like to say.
There are limits to confidentiality for the group facilitators:
- Where a person has immediate plans to self-harm with the intention to take life or plans to harm others.
- Where there is information that a child is at risk of harm, abuse of neglect or if anyone at the meeting discloses that they were abused in the past.
In these exceptional cases, the facilitators adhere to the Aware Confidentiality Policy and follow a process which involves reporting this information to the Designated Liaison Officer in Aware and/or the appropriate authorities.
Creating a respectful, supportive environment
To ensure a positive experience for all, Aware asks the following:
- Participants and facilitators have respect for each other’s time by being punctual, arriving and finishing the meeting on time, as well as allowing all group members time to share, if they wish. Most meetings last 90 minutes.
- To be tolerant and respectful of one another and acknowledge differing opinions.
- To avoid mentioning doctors, hospitals and medications by name, as what suits one person may not suit another.
- To be mindful that everyone attending has the opportunity to contribute but no one will ever be forced to do so.
Aware also offers in person, phone and Zoom Support and Self Care Groups.
Please visit www.aware.ie for further details.