New bespoke mental health counselling service to support disabled people aged 65+ in County Antrim.

We are here to listen. 

Disability Action has been successful in securing £10,000 funding through The McCall Social Care Fund to deliver a bespoke mental health counselling service 'Connect Well Antrim' to support disabled people aged 65+ in the County Antrim area.

In April last year we undertook a survey on 'The impact of COVID-19 on disabled people in NI' which showed that 72% of people reported an impact of their social isolation on their mental health and emotional wellbeing and pre-existing mental health conditions and anxiety worsened due to being unable to access support from their GP, health and/or social care contacts.

This pilot project aims to go some way to rectifying this by providing 1:1 mental health counselling support to 25 people aged 65+ in the County Antrim area, delivered by Maria Morgan, our BACP* registered Integrative Mental Health Counsellor (*British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).

Using well established tools and theories, Maria will work with individuals, over the course of six one hour sessions. Project beneficiaries will have the loan of a tablet for individual use throughout their time on project and will be set tasks between their weekly sessions to help them to grow confident in the use and value of a tablet. Project beneficiaries will also have access to accessible support materials and coaching not only from our Counsellor but other experts within Disability Action such as through our existing ONSIDE project.

Mental Health Counselling - How it works

Tailored 1:1 mental health counselling will be provided for up to an hour per individual session, via telephone, digitally or face to face (within current socially distanced guidelines) as agreed. Each individual will be able to access up to six 1:1 sessions with Maria Morgan, our fully qualified and BACP registered Integrative Mental Health Counsellor who has 13 years experience in the community sector with specialist knowledge on disability and mental health.

Tools & Theories

Our Counsellor will draw on a range of established and effective techniques across Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) - core belief work, scenarios/role plays and mood exploration, alongside humanism and psychotherapy techniques - inner child work, transactional analysis, person centred, selfcare, resilience development, addiction, information and signposting.

These will be used to cover key areas such as use of exploring self, transitions in life and change, sense of purpose, mediation, music as a tool, timeliness, individual interests, alternative sources of enjoyment, identifying and exploring new support networks, relieving death anxiety (that we all experience), grief work, creating better connections, fostering growth and resilience and removing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Benefits & Outcomes

At the heart of our delivery is 'empowerment', 'informed decision making', and encouragement to access and develop techniques to improve personal and emotional resilience and promote independent living. Key changes we expect for the direct beneficiary group are:

  1. Positive attitude and techniques for coping with change
  2. Reduction in social isolation
  3. Growth in sense of personal worth and sense of purpose
  4. Access to and development of tailored and effective supports from family, health, social care, community
  5. Growth and confidence in the use of digital technology to live happy and fulfilled lives, and
  6. Onward signposting to a range of linked longer-term services in local communities to provide lasting change

For more information contact Maria Morgan MBACP, Disability Action Mental Health Counsellor & Connect Well Antrim (Pilot) Project Co-Ordinator T: 07483 981220  E: [email protected].

This pilot project has been supported by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland through The McCall Social Care Fund and is managed by Disability Action Northern Ireland.

Download our Connect Well Antrim Leaflet

Promoting positive change through reducing social isolation