Following a successful coffee morning held recently in his constituency office, the East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat has thanked everyone involved.
He said: “I am delighted with the response to my coffee morning which was organised at short notice to mark World Mental Health Day on October 10.
“Thankfully people didn’t all turn up at the same time and the whole operation went remarkably smoothly,” he joked.
The event raised “a very significant sum of money for AWARE NI, the local mental health charity which provides support to families experiencing depression and related illnesses.”
The MLA continued: “A cheque for £1000 has been handed over and it remains for me to thank everyone who either supported the fundraiser or assisted in any way to make sure everyone was fed and watered.
“Mental health issues need equality with all other health issues and the assembly, when it was functioning, dragged its feet in ensuring that mental health was given the priority it deserves and is entitled to.
“In the meantime charities such as AWARE NI are playing a major role in delivering services but doing it under extreme conditions where funding from government has been drastically cut.
“I hope that other people interested in mental health issues will give thought to organising fundraisers for organisations involved in this work.
“It certainly has been my experience that the public will respond generously as they have done in this case and I am eternally grateful to them for their generosity.”
AWARE is the national depression charity for Northern Ireland - and the only charity working exclusively for people with depression and bipolar disorder.
Established in Derry, they have two offices; one in Londonderry and a second office in Belfast. AWARE has an established network of 25 support groups in rural and urban areas across the country, which are run by trained volunteers.
Support groups welcome people with depression and bipolar disorder as well as carers for people with the illness. They also deliver Information Outreach sessions and attend community events to give more information about AWARE and our services.
AWARE deliver mental health and well being programmes into communities, schools, colleges, universities and workplaces. These programmes include the suite of Mood Matters programmes, Living Life to the Full, Mental Health First Aid and Mindfulness. AWARE relies on dedicated and caring volunteers who run the support groups.