Inspire's new Bright Future service has launched, providing mental health support to young people in Counties Down and Tyrone.
A new pilot scheme, which aims to help young people care for their mental health, has now opened its doors. Available to 14- to 24-year-olds, Bright Future is an independent and confidential professional counselling service led by Inspire, in partnership with four GP surgeries in the Omagh, Ballynahinch and Saintfield areas
Following referral by one of the participating practices, Bright Future provides a young person with up to twelve online or face-to-face counselling sessions, during which they will build effective coping strategies and explore emotions, thoughts and feelings. The service can assist with a range of issues, from home life and pressures at school to bullying, relationship problems and substance misuse. Family members and carers may also access up to three sessions offering important advice and signposting information.
The launch of this new service was made possible by the fundraising efforts of two families in Counties Down and Tyrone.
Andrew and Cathy Brodie, who live in Portaferry, organised a sponsored virtual walk-or-run event, Abi’s Butterfly Breeze, last September, in memory of their daughter. Inspired by Abi’s love of butterflies, the Butterfly Breeze covered the 103-mile journey between Ireland’s two butterfly houses at Seaforde, near Newcastle, and Tropical World in Letterkenny.
Siobhán Quinn, meanwhile, staged Paul’s Run to commemorate the life of her husband, Paul. The event took place at Loughmacrory and saw Paul's family and friends – of all ages – complete a 5k run or 11 laps of the lough.
The donations generated by Andrew, Cathy and Siobhán proved crucial in establishing the Bright Future service.
The service’s manager, Grace Hyndman, said: “Inspire is absolutely delighted to launch Bright Future for young people living in Omagh, Ballynahinch and Saintfield. Teenagers and young adults are under a lot of strain at present, even without the added stress of the pandemic, and we are on hand to assist them as they work through this.
“Whether someone is dealing with concerns stemming from drug use, family life, social media or gender and sexual identity, Bright Future’s counsellors can help. We would encourage young people in those areas to reach out to their GPs if they want to talk to us. Talking about how you feel is so important and we are ready and willing to listen, without judgement, to the young people we are here to support.
“We are extremely grateful to Andrew, Cathy and Siobhán. Bright Future would still be an idea right now if it wasn’t for their dedication, compassion and determination.”
Andrew Brodie, Abi’s stepfather and the organiser of Abi’s Butterfly Breeze, said: “What started as a way of celebrating Abi’s life has now become an annual event, something for anyone and everyone to remember their own personal battles or lost family members and friends. The generous donations to Abi’s Butterfly Breeze have been crucial in setting up Bright Future and we hope that it will continue to grow.
“We feel so passionate about this event. It’s a cause so close to us and it’s our way of raising awareness and bringing people together over the course of one week. We want to share our messages regarding mental health, especially with young people, and we are humbled to see Bright Future enhancing the support that’s out there for a vulnerable age group.
“We are dedicated to continue our fundraising for this amazing service. As we launch Abi’s Butterfly Breeze 2021, we would encourage everyone to join us. Whether you walk, run or relay the 103 miles, please do support us in September 2021. You can find out more information, and sign up today, at www.inspirewellbeing.org.”
Omagh GP Dr Eimear Darcy, whose surgery, Grange Family Practice, is availing of the service, said: “We are delighted to engage with Bright Future, which offers guidance and support focusing on good mental health to our local teenagers and young people in difficulty. Our teenage and early adulthood years are a formative time for the building of robust mental health foundations, so this service will help empower them to grow emotionally and will give them the tools to maintain good mental health for many years to come.”