16 April 2022
By Tom Collins
Aware, a national charity supporting people impacted by depression and bipolar disorder, opened registration for its new Adult Education Programmes, which are always in high demand.
The courses offered, which commence on April 25th, have been designed to empower people living with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder in Ireland, as well as their support network and the general population, with the knowledge and skills to build positive mental health and resilience into the future. The in-person and virtual sessions are free of charge but places are limited. Some courses will be held in the meeting rooms at Brú Columbanus in Wilton, Cork City.
Approximately 6000 adults took part in Aware’s Adult Education Programmes last year, and the charity expects that demand will continue as the need for mental health supports remains extremely high in Ireland. There are three free programmes to choose from: The Life Skills programme, which provides insight into methods to reduce the impacts associated with anxiety, stress and depression and for people who want to improve their mental health and build resilience; The Living Well with Bipolar Disorder Programme for people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder; and the Relatives and Friends Programme for people supporting a loved one experiencing depression. All of Aware’s programmes are offered free of charge, with a wide range of times and locations on offer, including virtual options, to ensure they are accessible to all.
Aware’s Director of Services Stephen McBride said, “We continue to live in a time of great uncertainty which exacerbates the need to protect mental health and to build resilience. People are navigating a new pandemic landscape, transitioning back to the office and re-emerging back into society. Our Life Skills Programme may just be the right space to help people develop new tools that will enable them to better navigate the new environment we find ourselves in. Attendees will also develop their knowledge and understanding of the importance of having these skills so they can practise self-care.
“On the Living Well with Bipolar Disorder Programme, people diagnosed with the condition can learn new ways to manage it more effectively. It is the only course of its kind in Ireland and is a great step for increasing the supports available for people living with this very challenging condition. At a societal level, the understanding of bipolar disorder remains very limited in Ireland, and Aware is committed to helping people living with a diagnosis to learn methods that will help them to live well.” said Stephen.
“And finally, our Relatives and Friends Programme represents a very positive intervention in the under-resourced area of ‘supporting the supporter’. Aware wants to encourage as many as possible to take up the opportunity to learn ways to protect their own well-being as they undertake the challenging role of assisting others.”
The Life Skills Programme offers practical tips on reducing symptoms associated with mild to moderate depression, anxiety and/or stress. Available to anyone over the age of 18 in Ireland, it offers new ways of thinking to deal with life’s challenges. Participants will learn how to better manage the stress of everyday life and how to recognise and manage unhelpful thoughts. Ultimately, they will begin the journey to a healthier and more confident life. Based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), those attending will learn more about how we think can influence our actions in helpful or unhelpful ways. The course also looks at building blocks for positive mental health such as sleep, nutrition, routine and avoiding vicious cycles of negative thinking and anxiety. The Life Skills Programme is run online over eight modules by a certified trainer and is also available in person at locations throughout the country.
The Living Well with Bipolar Disorder Programme is for people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It will provide people with information and support to understand and manage the condition effectively. As part of the course, participants will also complete a personal wellness plan. The programme is delivered over the course of eight weeks by an experienced mental health professional through video conferencing platform Zoom.
The Relatives & Friends Programme focuses on helping people supporting someone with depression or bipolar disorder with the skills they need to look after both themselves and their loved one. It focuses on the self-care of the supporter, and also equips them with the tools they need to understand and support a loved one. This programme is run by a mental health professional.
Aware’s aim is to ensure that individuals across Ireland impacted by depression, bipolar disorder and other mood related conditions know they are not alone and are provided with the knowledge, advice and tools they need to improve their wellbeing.
If you are impacted by depression, bipolar disorder, or other mood related conditions, you can contact Aware’s free support line 7 days a week from 10am to 10pm on 1800 80 48 48.
To register for the Adult Education Programme, or for further information on Aware and volunteering see aware.ie