Bealach Nua The New Way
Bealach Nua which in Irish means New Way, is the suitably titled name of an innovative service which has been in operation since 2015, having assisted over 400 people it is currently co managed by Mental Health Ireland and the Mayo Mental Health Service. The idea was developed after Dr. Grainne Fadden held a Trialog workshop where family members discussed and reinforced the need for a family focused service putting the needs of the whole family first. It is seen as an alternative vision more aligned with empowering recovery, based around having a common lived experience. It is aptly titled with the intention of signifying a change in how we view Recovery in Mental Health, by doing it a new way.
This individualized recovery and person centered support service, provides family members and carers of adults with a mental health diagnosis ongoing emotional support, directing them towards community supports that may help families cope positively with the challenges they face. It provides an opportunity for family members to talk to a trained family peer supporter with lived experience who understands what they have been going through, compared to talking to a professional. The service also concentrates on capacity building and social support as well as organisational change.
Family members of people with mental ill health tend to focus on their needs and are slow in getting support for themselves. When family members are supported and encouraged to focus on their own selfcare, their family member with mental health difficulties also benefit. One Family member stated, “Having used the service of Bealach Nua for some years, as a service user it has given me insight into the recovery process. Recovery has given me a positive attitude taking responsibility for my own emotions, expectations fears and behaviours. In using Bealach Nua my family peer support worker showed me empathy, equality, mutual respect, empowerment and partnership. For some years I was supporting a family member with mental illness. With no previous experience or knowledge of mental illness I found myself in confused and emotional state.
Feeling very much on my own I was eventually put in touch with Bealach Nua which changed my life. At first I didn’t realise how much I needed help. I had all these feelings from sadness to anger, grief, loss, anxiety and shame and finally I had someone I could talk to. My family peer support worker was a wonderful lady that made me realise it was ok to have all those feelings. It was when she shared some of her personal experiences and how she overcame them that I began to feel hope again. After some great support, encouragement, Guidance and friendship I found myself again. I learned how important self-care was for my own mental health, when I looked after myself I was in a better position to support my family.”
As the role expands we are delighted to welcome four new peer supporters who will be deployed throughout the County of Mayo. All our peers bring with them an abundance of experience which we hope will see the service evolve and grow. Currently our neighbouring Counties Galway and Roscommon are preparing for the introduction of family peer supporters into their mental health service, we look forward to working alongside them and we wish them all the best.
My name is Dymphna Folliard I live in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo. The last thirty years I have been farming as well as taking care of my five children. My children are now grown up and finished their education. Having been a past service user of Bealach Nua it inspired me to become a family peer support worker. I attended GMIT where I studied Recovery in Mental Health and Neurodiversity. When the position of Family Peer Support Worker arose I applied for the position. I was extremely excited to get the position as it is very important to me to be there to support another family member when they are in a crisis.
I am a highly pro-active and motivated person who always strives to provide the highest standard of care.
I enjoy painting and drawing in my spare time and have a keen interest in carpentry and have built a wide range of household items. I have an active lifestyle and enjoy activities such as gardening, farming and walking. I extended my love of carpentry to outdoor projects creating several features to enhance my garden.
I am delighted to be part of the Bealach Nua Team as Family Peer support worker.
My current position as Family Peer Supporter with Bealach Nua comes from my many years of experience in supporting someone with mental health difficulties. This has resulted in a pursuit to promote positive mental health, promote the rights and importance of Family Supports whilst reducing stigma associated with mental health.
I would sum up my role by saying, family peer support is about holding hope for someone until they themselves can feel it. Living in Ballina with my three young girls I believe that being involved in Community activities is important for a sense of belonging. I hold the position of Healthy Club Officer with Ballina Stephenites GAA and sit on the County Health and Wellbeing Committee as well.
As a founding member of The Mayo Mental Health Fair, I was involved in many of the initiatives, including co hosting the Ballina Fair held in The Ballina Arts Centre in May 2019 and also the Green Ribbon Walk and Talk in the grounds of Belleek Woods which incorporated the Five Ways To Wellbeing. Having promoting the Green Ribbon during a Cycle Against Suicide event in 2018 it inspired me to take up Cycling and I continue to do so as part of my own wellbeing plan. All this led to my inclusion in the 2018 Green Ribbon Report promoting work done in the Mayo Community.
Prior to my current position I also sat on the Bealach Nua Operational group and believe that continued learning helps keep the mind informed, I am currently studying for a Certificate in Peer Support working in Mental Health in DCU and hope this will help bring real value and energy to my new position.
My name is Noel Hoare and I am a family peer support worker at the Bealach Nua service in Castlebar, County Mayo. I have always been interested in mental health and have a lot of lived experience through supporting people I know who experienced mental health challenges and also from my own experiences.
I trained in co delivering and co facilitating workshops relating to mental health topics with ARI (Advancing Recovery in Ireland) and with REGARI (Roscommon East Galway Advancing Recovery in Ireland). Currently I am studying Peer Support Working in mental Health with DCU.
I am also actively involved with a number of local charities that help people with their mental health and well-being through accessing services and supports. Living rurally in County Roscommon my hobbies/interests include farming, walking, biodiversity, history, archaeology, gardening, kickboxing and most of all my family.
Hi, I am Mary O’Connell Gannon from Castlebar, Co Mayo. It is my privilege to be a Family Peer Support Worker with Bealach Nua in County Mayo. My two children are adults now and they have brought great joy into my life. Over thirty years of my life has been spent working at grass-root level in community settings, supporting people and communities.
I have experience working in community based children services, family support provision and community development projects, designing and facilitating educational and intergenerational programmes. I am an Alumna of the National University Ireland Galway where I studied Community Development Principles in Practice followed by Family Support in community settings. To further support me in my role I am studying peer support working in mental health through DCU.
In my spare time I enjoy oil painting, Calligraphy and walking in nature. Anthropology intrigues me and I have a keen interest in Irish and Celtic mythology. More than anything I have a genuine desire to make a real difference in people’s lives.
Anyone wishing to get in touch please contact us on 0860450835 0879749288 or 0949049392.
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