A local volunteer-led organisation which supports people with mental health issues, has assisted over 3,000 during the last seven months.
Me4Mental has gone from the humble beginnings of a social media page and two coffee mornings a week in January 2017, to having a drop in centre for people in crisis.
The centre, in Queen Street, opened in April this year in excess of 3,000 people have sought assistance from the group during that time.
Me4Mental were awarded just over £9,000 in funding by the National Lottery and it believes this funding is ‘validation’ for all the hard work.
The funding will allow the charity to continue providing assistance to people who find themselves in mental health crisis.
Chairperson, Patricia Flanagan-McClean, said: “Me4Mental has been going two years in January and we have progressed so fast that it highlights the need for services such as ours.
“We are using the lottery funding to furnish the new centre, as everything we have at the minute has been donated. This money will help us keep doing what we are doing.”
As well as the drop in centre, Me4Mental offer appointments for peer advocacy with five trained advocates running drama, art and mindfulness programmes and work in conjunction with community mental health workers.
They also have support groups for people struggling with mental health or carers, including family groups which aim to give better understanding and education to the family members and friends about mental health.
The organisation is run by volunteers and they have all had their own mental health issues in the past or are carers for people with mental health problems.
Patricia said that when they found out they had been awarded lottery funding ‘it was the best thing ever.’
“The money has been an absolute life saver. When we were told, it felt like all the hard work was being rewarded and we were getting validation and support for what we are doing. We are just completely over the moon.
“Although we never shout about it, I like to think we have actively saved lives everyday. It is a beautiful thing to be able to do. 3,000 people have been through our doors since we opened the office and the lottery funding will allow us to keep helping others.”
Once a month the volunteers get together for their own support group and they used this month’s meeting to have a small celebration.
Patricia also took the opportunity to thank the people of Derry.
“They have been absolutely phenomenal and we couldn’t do without their support.”