Depression is an illness that affects an ever increasing number of people and many find it difficult to share their feelings with friends and family.
For one man, Paul McAlea, local charity Aware Defeat Depression was a lifeline and he admits that without their help, he would not be here today.
“I was bullied as a young boy at the age of 12 and began to lose any faith I had in myself,” explained Paul.
“Thoughts of suicide were familiar to me. These thoughts continued throughout my teenage years and into my early adult life.
“Things were tough and life was draining. I was finding it difficult in work and remember feeling anxious throughout my working life.”
Paul didn’t know where to turn but when he found out about Aware Defeat Depression his life changed forever.
“I attended the Aware Defeat Depression Support Group in Lisburn in 2011 and I can honestly say that it has changed my life since,” Paul continued.
“After my first meeting, I felt there was finally some hope in my life. I no longer felt like that 12 year old child within.
“I can honestly say that Aware Defeat Depression has changed my life. They have helped me believe in myself and trust other people, an asset I never thought I would possess.”
Aware Defeat Depression is a charity local to every community. They run a network of over 20 support groups in cities, towns and villages throughout Northern Ireland.
Support Groups welcome people with depression, and those that care for people with depression to avail of peer support from other group members that are experiencing, or have experienced a similar situation. Support Groups are free to attend and you do not need to register, simply just show up.
Aware Defeat Depression also work within communities across the country providing education and training programmes aimed at helping people to understand the importance of looking after their mental health.
If you are interested in any of the services from Aware Defeat Depression or simply want to know more, speak to someone on the helpline call 08451 20 29 61. The helpline is open from Monday to Friday 9am – 1pm and is a listening ear service to find out more about the services or to find out more information on depression.
Alternatively, log onto www.aware-ni.org.