I am so delighted to be collaborating with Aware Mental Health charity for my next new product launch on the 01/06/20 where I will be donating 50% of all profits from this product to their incredible charity. Please keep reading to learn more about what it is they do and what your money will go towards helping them continue to provide this fantastic and much needed service.
“Aware undertakes to create a society where people affected by stress, depression, bipolar disorder and mood related conditions are understood, supported, free from stigma, and are encouraged to access appropriate therapies.”
Driven by our vision, four key objectives underpin all activities in Aware:
- To inform and educate on the nature, extent, and consequences of depression
- To provide emotional and practical support to those affected by depression, bipolar and related disorders
- To provide positive mental health and resilience training
- To support research into the development and treatment of depression and related issues
We are perhaps best known for our Support Line, which operates 365 days a year, and our nationwide Support Groups, both of which provide invaluable support to those most in need. However, in recent years we have focused increasing levels of resource on our education programmes, offered free of charge to the public. These programmes are designed for individuals looking for tools to cope with anxiety, unhelpful thoughts, and common life challenges.
Depression is a significant issue for societies across the world, and it is estimated that one in ten people are dealing with depression in Ireland at any one time. We are seeing demand on our services continue to grow; 2019 saw us answering 50% more calls on our Support Line than in 2018 (21,000 calls), and we have seen this trend continue through the first few months of 2020.
Covid-19 began as a medical crisis, but the societal and economic impacts of the medical crisis are now also driving significant mental health challenges for people all across Ireland. In Aware, we have seen an immediate impact on our fundraising ability, resulting in a projected shortfall of €1m on our €2.1m budget for 2020. State funding only accounts for between 15% and 25% of our income. At a time when people need us most, and when we are adapting our services to offer as many remote solutions as possible, we are facing a significant challenge.
How Aware is responding to the Crisis
As we absorb the unfolding impacts of the current crisis, and as we listen to the changing nature of the calls we are receiving from those in need of support, it is very apparent that anxiety levels are continuing to rise across the country. We have been particularly struck by the impact that the crisis is having on families, in terms of the dynamics of daily life, the significant strain on finances for many, and the uncertainty that families are facing about the months ahead. These factors are driving more and more people to need support, particularly amongst those that are already dealing with depression or a mood-related disorder.
Despite our funding challenges, we have responded quickly to the crisis, and will continue to do so. Our energies are currently directed in two particular areas:
1 – Support Line services
- We have moved our Support Line service to a remote solution, allowing volunteers to manage calls in a structured, monitored capacity from their own homes. This has ensured complete continuity of service to our callers, and we remain available from 10am to 10pm, 365 days a year.
- To ensure we have the capacity to deal with increasing call volume, we are seeking to add 100 volunteers to our support line service in the coming months. This is a significant undertaking, but is necessary to give the support that the public needs.
2 – Life Skills Programmes
- Aware offer Life Skills Programmes throughout the year, in a face to face environment as well as through a moderated online service. Life Skills Programmes are designed for individuals looking for tools to cope with anxiety, unhelpful thoughts, and common life challenges.
- Given the need for social distancing, we have had to withdraw our face to face programmes. However, we are currently (a) offering a Virtual Life Skills Online programme, facilitated over video-conferencing by an Aware trainer and (b) significantly upweighting the number of Life Skills Online places we can make available by increasing the number of trained volunteers available to support the programme.
- As with our Support Line, the additional volunteer capacity that we need is significant – we are aiming to add 100 trained volunteers to this service too.
Funding is needed by Aware now more than ever, and will help to ensure that we can recruit, interview, train and monitor the volunteers that we need to support the public at this time of crisis.