Thursday 21st June was National Loneliness Day and our Community Wellbeing Service, based in Dungannon, hosted a free event to inspire and encourage connectivity, unity with others and alleviate loneliness for those most in need.
We want to share a story from a service user who availed of our services and encourages people to reach out.
Still living in the home in which she was born, Violet, 82, comes from just outside Dungannon. As a primary school teacher, she was surrounded by colleagues and pupils every day. Violet's long involvement in the community includes her time as a former captain and president of the local golf club.
As a child, she fondly remembers festivities with her family, after the routine farming work was completed, and the buzz of friends calling at the house. Violet’s mother passed away in September 2007. It was a difficult period but she was thankful for a loving nephew who provided her with support and companionship.
In spite of the extreme sadness at the loss of her mother, Violet was able to cope with the loneliness she has experienced thanks to the efforts of her good friends and neighbours.
Unfortunately, Violet developed lymphoma and, whilst she was waiting for an appointment, she saw a leaflet about Inspire’s support services. Within only a few weeks of contacting our Mental Health team, staff had encouraged and supported Violet in regaining her confidence and mobility. They also introduced her to a befriending volunteer who continues to provide ongoing support.
Violet has now joined the Inspiring Friends group which meets weekly at the Junction in Dungannon. Through this group, she has met many new friends and her confidence and independence have significantly improved.
As a result of the support received, Violet has re-discovered her interest in golf, developed her interest in church activities and regularly attends community events. She maintains an extremely active lifestyle and very much values the Good Morning Call she receives every morning.
Violet’s great-niece told Inspire staff that “there is not always enough emphasis put on the mental health and emotional wellbeing of older people. It is fantastic to hear Violet talk about all the help she has received [from Inspire].”
Violet encourages people of all ages to accept the support available from the many statutory and voluntary organisations in the local community, including our Community Wellbeing Service based at the Junction.
By hosting this loneliness event, we aim to show people how they can access services and recreational activities. These can stimulate both mind and body, providing a welcome diversion from feelings of isolation.
Open to everyone, regardless of age, the function treated attendees to taster sessions from community groups and businesses in Dungannon and surrounding areas. They were awarded spot prizes and a lunchtime tea dance offered dancing and refreshments for participants. Wellbeing packs were available to take home.
Other activities on the day included dancing with Cathy Jones, fitness sessions with HD fitness and Keith Clarke, yoga sessions with Philip Morgan and pilates with Stevie Kennedy.
For good mental health, everyone can build five steps to wellbeing into their routine. Staying connected, continuously learning or refreshing skills, volunteering time or giving to others, being active and taking notice through mindful activities; all help to curb loneliness and foster togetherness in the community.
Inspire’s Mental Health Team at the Junction would like to extend its thanks to the event sponsors, Eurocoach and Dungannon Windows.
For more information, contact Team Inspire by telephone on 028 8772 3321 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org