'How Are You' project invite you to improve your mental health at local information session

Jane Witherspoon

Reporter:

Jane Witherspoon

The ‘How Are You’ project is marking Mental Health Awareness month by bringing a series of talks and information evenings to Broughshane House.

Founder of the project, Mark Dunseath set up his ‘How Are You’ Facebook page last October and has sought to reach out to the wider community.

Mark, who himself has suffered from depression in the past previously told the Guardian that he has managed depression since he was 19 before being diagnosed seven years ago with severe depression.

He found it hard to open up and talk about his feelings, explaining: “I never spoke to anyone about it.

“I found it difficult even speaking to the doctor,” Mark explained.

“I would just feel very down but I always tried to hide it like many others who suffer from this horrendous illness.”

He explained the loneliness of the illness and how it’s not always viable.

“For someone looking in I have everything you want.

“I have a family who love and care for me, a lovely home, a car, a job but there is just no explanation for depression.”

Mark said once he started talking about his problems he immediately felt better.

“I know people say it all the time but it is good to talk,” Mark explained.

“Just telling someone how you feel can lift that burden ever so slightly and help.

“I don't want to suffer in silence or anyone else to.”

His experience inspired him to start the ‘How Are You’ Facebook page to give others encouragement, a platform to talk and information about mental health.

He said: “The page is there to help people who are struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental health problems and seeks to point them in the right direction of help.

“I lost my friend to suicide a few years ago and that spurred me on to start something to give those in need somewhere to turn to and to encourage them.”

The page now has over 1200 likes and has reached people who normally would find it hard to talk about their own mental health.

Mark is a believer that talking helps, adding: “Talking about your struggles can often be the best medicine.”

The Broughshane man is delighted with the response to the page, and is now pleased to be able to take his project to the next level by organising focus groups that will see mental health professionals offering counselling services and advice to those who need it.

The first session will be on Monday May 20 in Broughshane House at 7pm and will examine how to know and recognise the signs of depression.

The talks will take place in Broughshane house on a monthly basis.

Mark says: “In light of recent tragic events, it is something the community is in need of and we hope it will benefit people of all ages and from all walks of life.

“So if you are interested in improving your or another's mental health and well-being, these fun and interactive informative sessions aim to encourage you to speak out and ask for help.”

Mark also wishes to thank the Broughshane Community Association for their help in facilitating the meetings and their support for the overall project.

To go along, register your interest via the How Are You Facebook page or call Broughshane House on 02825 862777.

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