A BRAND new mental health support group has recently been set up by Ballymoney man, Sammy Hunter, and he's appealing for volunteers from across the borough to step in and reassure those whose mental health is in crisis, that they're not alone.
Sammy, who has a Bipolar Type 2 diagnosis, knows only too well what it's like to feel at the end of your tether, to feel that you can't continue, but he also knows the helpless feeling of not wanting to burden your own family and friends.
Speaking to The Chronicle, Sammy said: “The support group, 'You're not alone, mental health NI' was just set up in recent days and is currently moderated by myself and a friend. It's there to support those suffering from poor mental health, we're here so that they can reach out and share.
“I know the struggle, I know the feelings of despair, I have experience of suicidal thoughts and I know what it's like when you don't want to burden those closest to you when you're feeling like that. But it's at that point you need help the most.”
Sammy, who admits he has tried to take his own life a number of times, said he started the group as he knows from experience that it can be easier to talk to strangers via a screen, than admit your feelings to those close to you.
The trainee mechanic, now 25, said the support group is one-of-a-kind in the local area and he'd like to see people from all over the province make use of it.
He added: “A lot of those suffering from mental health find it easier to access social media than they would to speak to a person face-to-face. This page for us is a stepping stone, we will never judge, nobody has room to judge, we want to help people begin to see straight and think before they might act on anything.”
At the minute the group is a facebook page only, but Sammy is full of praise for the charity Lifeline, which he says has “pulled me out of some holes before.”
For Sammy, who has been attending mental health team workers since the tender age of 14 says he wants to try and make a difference to a topic that attracts such a stigma.
For more on this see this week's paper