Northern Ireland news

Charities launch support campaigns to those battling depression on 'Blue Monday'

Blue Monday: The most depressing day of the year apparently falls on January 21 in 2019

A CAMPAIGN to support those affected by depression on the 'saddest day of the year' has been launched by the Samaritans and NI Libraries.

Dubbed 'Blue Monday', the date is usually the third Monday in January and has become an annual fixture in raising awareness about mental health and services available.

This year, the charity has introduced 'Brew Monday', and is asking people to come to their local library for a chat and cup of tea.

Libraries NI service development manager Julie Reid said they were "delighted" to be supporting the "fantastic work undertaken by the Samaritans".

"What better way is there to help beat the January blues than by having a cup of tea with friends in the library?" she said.

Another high profile charity which provides support to people affected by depression has also launched a partnership to coincide with today's date.

Aware, which delivers mental health and wellbeing programmes in communities, schools, universities and workplaces throughout the north, has teamed up with Radius Housing.

The charity's support groups welcome people with depression and bipolar disorder as well as those who care for people with the illness.

Meanwhile, Radius Housing provides housing, care and support to more than 33,000 people with complex needs across the north - with schemes including caring for the vulnerable and elderly, residents with dementia, learning disabilities and those who are homeless.

John McLean, the housing charity's chief executive, said they wanted to promote a positive approach to mental wellbeing.

"With suicide rates higher in NI than anywhere else in the UK, the work that Aware does is vital and extremely respected. At Radius we pride ourselves in not just housing people, but ensuring their social, physical and mental wellbeing is all cared for and we are absolutely delighted that we will be able to support the charity in their work over the next two years," he said.

Karen Collins, who heads up Aware, said she hoped the money raised by the housing organisation would help them deliver programmes to teenagers to maintain good mental health and "build resilience" to deal with problems.

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