First Steps Womens Centre Dungannon

First Steps Womens Centre Dungannon

Wellbeing Programmes

HolisticsThe overall aim of our Wellbeing work is to improve the physical and mental health of women and provide opportunities which will enable them to achieve their full potential.

First Steps Women's Centre (FSWC) has a holistic approach to women’s education and personal development. We strive to anticipate the barriers women may face when they return to education and help them overcome these, for example, providing Childcare and Transport.

The role of the Wellbeing Co-ordinator was created as there was recognition within FSWC that women needed support and education in relation to their health and wellbeing.

Women can face many changes and demands on their health throughout the course of their lives, such as motherhood, menopause, bereavement, divorce, changes in financial circumstances, caring for a family member etc. A number of women who attended our courses were living with long term medical conditions  or mental ill health (some just newly diagnosed). The relaxed comfortable and supportive environment here enables women to confide in Staff about issues which have impacted on their lives. This can include the loss of confidence and self esteem. There were also a number of women who visited FSWC who didn’t feel quite ready to undertake a qualification but wanted to enroll in a short course. Many of these women now start with a Health Promotion course to build up their confidence and then progress on to an accredited course.

It is important to note that many women undertake these courses for enjoyment and the opportunity to get out and meet other women and socialise.

FSWC new Wellbeing Co-ordinator Amanda Boyd has held this post since August 2015. Amanda is qualified in Reiki / Seichim, The Art of Feminine Presence courses / workshops, Coaching and Yoga / Relaxation.

Amanda says "For my personal interest and so I can bring the very best to our participants, I continue to be a student of leadership and personal and spiritual growth learning the most up to date techniques, strategies and systems that simply work. As I apply these strategies and tools , I am passionate about sharing them with others so they too can overcome the same challenges and fears I have experienced and help make a bigger impact in their lives"

Amanda's work is funded through ESF/DFE and The Arts Council.

I Was Told Nothing Was Wrong Even Though I Was Having Daily Seizures

Amy Speers is 32 years old and lives in Bangor. For the past seven years, she has been having non-epileptic seizures, which can be difficult to diagnose and sometimes confused with epilepsy. Amy has since created a Facebook page and has written blogs to raise awareness of the condition.

For the past six or seven years, I have been having non-epileptic seizures (NES). These are different to epileptic seizures, which are caused by disrupted electrical activity in the brain.

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The Ongoing Road To Recovery

Lindsay Robinson

Early last year, I shared my story of postnatal depression and my two-year battle with illness on this website. I was just at the start of my journey of recovery and was writing a personal blog. 

I was five months into treatment - antidepressants, mental health team support, talking therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). I found it hard, some days, to believe that I really could get better, but I was trying hard to hold onto hope. 

One year on, things are very different. While my recovery is ongoing, I know that it is possible to get better. I am so thankful that life is now to be enjoyed rather than endured. I'm ready to thrive not just survive. 

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Ovarian Cancer Awareness - Mary's Story

"In Northern Ireland, approximately 180 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, and 120 women lose their lives each year. When a woman is diagnosed at the earliest stage, her chance of surviving ovarian cancer for five years of more doubles from just 46 per cent to more than 90 per cent, and knowing the symptoms of ovarian cancer can save lives.

The challenge is a chance to spread a very important message: knowing the symptoms of ovarian cancer can save lives. In NI we do not have  a dedicated support network for those effected by the disease.

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‘I Fought The Demons Inside My Head Every Day’

The second of AWARE volunteer Cliona McCarney’s two-part blog on her battle with depression. Last week, Cliona realised that the weight of the world on her shoulders was literally killing her.

It took every bit of strength that I possessed to convince myself that it would be a bad thing for that to happen.

That sounds melodramatic, and maybe it is, but that was the point I’d gotten to. I went to my GP and, for the first time, I faced up to the true extent of the problems I was having.

It took me several attempts to make an appointment. I waited in the call queue for what felt like hours and then hung up in fright when I heard a voice.

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‘I Was Tangled Up In A Web Of My Own Lies’

Cliona McCarney is a volunteer with AWARE – the national depression charity for Northern Ireland. In a two-part blog, she speaks candidly about her descent into depression.

Work? A headache? Cramps? Babysitting again? Which excuse hadn’t I used for a while? I’d used all of them, and more, a lot recently.

I was tangled up in a web of my own lies as I struggled to come up with yet another excuse for why I couldn’t meet a friend for a coffee. Depression. The darkest, most terrifying time of my life.

The truth is that I couldn’t bring myself to face anyone - I could hardly face myself in the mirror.

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Singing Therapy Hits The Right Note

Before I retired, I worked as a mental health nurse teacher with a special interest in older people. I taught in the classroom and in care settings.

Since retirement, I have been involved in research, as well as volunteering to support older people in all aspects of their wellbeing.

One person in every 500 will develop Parkinson’s – mostly those aged over 50. It is a disease of the nervous system that progressively affects muscular control, invariably to the detriment of verbal and non-verbal communication.

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I Believed in Myself

All this week, the media has been giving special coverage on the experiences of disabled people in the workforce and as consumers. One interviewee said employers were “missing a trick” because people with a learning disability or any disability are resilient, flexible and good at problem-solving because they have had to be. This is what Gerard from the PCC has to say on this.

I'll never forget the day when I was 19, I was told at the end of a workplace training programme to forget about a career in health and social care.  I wasn't capable of this type of work.

Instead I was advised to consider cleaning jobs or stacking supermarket shelves. Why? Because I have a learning disability.

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It is estimated there are 19,000 people living with dementia in the north of Ireland, but only some 13,000 have received a formal diagnosis. Looking ahead it’s expected that by 2051 there will be around 60,000 people with dementia.

Since September 2016, the #STILL ME dementia awareness campaign has been running across Northern Ireland.  The campaign features local people living with dementia talking about how their condition affects them. 

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Parkinson's Information

Parkinson’s Awareness Week 2017

Since 1969 we’ve been working tirelessly to help find better treatments for people with Parkinson's. Whilst we've made developments in some areas, the last significant drug discovery for Parkinson's was over 50 years ago.

We know Parkinson's drugs aren’t good enough. They don't stop, slow down or reverse the condition or its effects. They can only mask some symptoms for a time – and they can have distressing side effects.

People with Parkinson's need a breakthrough. And we won't wait any longer.

That's why in Parkinson's Awareness Week, which will run from 10-16 April 2017 we'll be launching our new campaign – We Won’t Wait – asking the public to donate and support our new research approach. We’ll also be raising awareness of the need for better treatments.

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The Hidden Heartache Of One In Four

Baby Loss Awareness Week runs from 9-15 October. Last year, we featured a blog entitled I Am One in Four by Alison Carr. That’s because one in every four pregnancies in the UK end in miscarriage. Alison suffered not just one miscarriage. In total, she had five!

Having three or more miscarriages is termed recurrent miscarriage and affects one in every 100 pregnancies. In her blog, Alison spoke movingly about her ‘grief, fear, pain, jealously, self-recrimination and self-loathing’ which grew with every miscarriage, and of the lack of specialist bereavement counselling to help her come to terms with her losses.

She also talked about the lack of specialist care for women in Northern Ireland who experience recurrent miscarriage, and having to make multiple trips to London to attend a specialist clinic. Alison is one of the lucky ones. Some women are never offered referrals to specialist clinics. Alison got the diagnosis and treatment she needed and, today, she is the proud mother of two girls.

Read more ...

More Articles ...

  1. Caring For Someone With Huntington’s Disease Means Having To Grow Up Fast
  2. Organ Donation – Having Information To Make Decisions
  3. What’s The Real Cost Of Unused Medicines?
  4. Raising Awareness Of Sarcoma
  5. Patients' Views On Diabetes
  6. What's It Really Like For People Living With Dementia And Their Families?
  7. The Challenges Of Living With Coeliac Disease.
  8. Living with Parkinsons
  9. Nutrition at home
  10. "Understanding The Person, Not The Medication"
  11. Volunteering in Health Care Settings
  12. Living With Postnatal Depression
  13. 'Caring For Someone You Love Is A Privilege'
  14. Increasing awareness and understanding of depression
  15. Life can be a pain
  16. Patients' Access To Their Medical Records – Where Next In Northern Ireland?
  17. Taking about Serious Illness
  18. Living With Endometriosis
  19. Finding Heart In Hopelessness: Caring For Someone With Huntington’s Disease.
  20. Caring For The Dying
  21. Caring For Older People In Their Own Homes
  22. Tom's Story: Living With MS
  23. 7 Day Working For Hospital Consultants
  24. Waiting Times – A Never-Ending Story?
  25. Talking about "Dementiaville"
  26. Are Self-Service Check In Screens A Good Idea?
  27. Waiting in A & E
  28. New PHA Cancer Awareness Programme
  29. Skin may help spot Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease
  30. To Pay or not to Pay - Perscription Charges
  31. Are The Expectations Of Patients Too High?
  32. New European code prescribes 12 ways to prevent cancer
  33. Hypothyroidism - Underactive Thyroid
  34. Endometriosis
  35. Organ Donation
  36. Blood Pressure - know your numbers
  37. Mental Health App available to download for FREE!
  38. Tackling Obesity



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