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.

Depression in Northern Ireland - The Facts.

This week, people around the world marked World Mental Health Day - an important day to reflect upon our changing attitudes to illnesses such as depression. We have come a long way, but we also have a long way to go in reducing stigma and encouraging more people to be open about depression and not to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Michelle Byrne from the Northern Ireland depression charity, AWARE, looks at the recent increase in adults being diagnosed with depression and explores the reasons as to why this could be.

This week, AWARE used World Mental Health Day to share statistics on the number of people in Northern Ireland with depression. People may or may not be surprised to find that Northern Ireland has seen a 60% increase in the number of adults diagnosed with depression in the last five years. In 2018, 1 in 9 adults were diagnosed with depression – a jump from 1 in 15 in 2013.

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Palliative Care, Because Every Moment Matters

Palliative Care Week 2018 begins on Sunday 9th September and in our blog this week, Brendan O’Hara from the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care explains why it is so important to raise people’s awareness and understanding of palliative care.

This Sunday marks the beginning of Palliative Care Week; an annual campaign facilitated by All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care which runs this year from 9 to 15 September. 

This time around our theme is ‘Palliative Care, Because Every Moment Matters’.

Palliative care focuses on helping a person, of any age, with a life-limiting illness, to achieve the best quality of life. It involves the management of pain and other symptoms and provides support for social, emotional and spiritual needs.

 This care is for people with serious and progressive conditions, such as motor neurone disease, MS, dementia, advanced kidney disease or advanced lung disease, as well as advanced cancer and advanced heart disease.

Through our Palliative Care Week campaign, we want to encourage people to talk about palliative care; about what matters to them, and to receive help to give them a better quality of life.

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Cancer Caring Coping

Queen’s University Belfast have conducted research whichCancer Caring Coping - Intro Image  has showed us that, if you care for someone who’s affected by cancer, be that a family member or a friend, then your health can also be affected.

A group of people who have been affected by Cancer have put together this video to share with you their experiences and what worked for them.

What is important as a Carer is that you look after yourself.  

For more information click here

What’s Life Really Like On A Waiting List?

While it has been widely reported that waiting times continue to grow, there has been little focus on the lived experiences of people who are waiting for sometimes urgent and life-saving care.  This week saw the launch of “Our lived experience of waiting for healthcare – People in Northern Ireland share their story”. Chief Executive, Maeve Hully explains more. 

Waiting for healthcare is a frustrating and worrying experience.  People do not know how long they will wait. Deteriorating physical and mental health, worsening pain, loss of income and social isolation are just some of the issues that people are struggling to cope with as they wait for care.

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Anorexia - My Battle And Recovery

I remember laughing when doctors first shared their concern that I was suffering from anorexia. Were they stupid? Anorexics were those people who were skin and bone, those who had the will power to last days without food.

I wasn’t strong enough to be like them or at least, that’s what she told me. I was weak because I had to eat half a banana to stop my tummy rumbling while sitting a GCSE exam. Long story short, it was now three years since I lost my dad. I was due to receive exam results in one week’s time, and I was admitted to Beechcroft Hospital in Belfast. That was my home for the next six months and so I had to take a year out from school.

You’d think that would have been enough to make me realise something was wrong, but it wasn’t. She told me I didn’t belong in hospital, I was a fraud, and most of all, I was pathetic for getting myself caught.

My recovery didn’t kick start for a long time. Much to everyone’s dismay this wasn’t something I could switch off. I would eat, the number on the scales would creep up, she would cripple me with guilt and the only way to pacify her was to exercise at every opportunity and return to starvation mode. This vicious cycle continued long after I was allowed home and to this day, I cannot pinpoint a particular moment when things took a turn for the better.

That’s probably because there wasn’t one though, it was such a gradual process. Battling anorexia’s constant criticisms throughout recovery was one of the most exhausting things imaginable but somewhere along the way I came to accept that nothing in my life would ever change if I didn’t battle to break the cycle she had me so cruelly caught up in.

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‘I’m So Lucky It Was Caught Early’

Paula Bradley MLA was diagnosed with cancer when she was just 24 and admits she knew nothing about the disease. It was only much later that she realised how serious the condition can be. As part of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22-28 January) Paula joined forces with Cancer Focus NI to urge women to be vigilant and get regular smear tests.



Paula pictured with her parents

“I went to my GP with really debilitating, severe back pain that had been bothering me for a couple of months. I was separated from my husband, and was working and looking after the children, so it was full on.

My doctor suggested I should have a smear test as it had been a while since I’d had one. I thought, ‘Really, why would you do that for a sore back?’

The doctor arrived at my house a couple of days later as it was on his way home from work. He said he needed to speak to me. He told me the smear had come back and there was a problem and that he was going to refer me for further investigation. After more tests I found out I had cervical cancer.

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Funding Public Services In Northern Ireland – What Does This Mean For Health And Social Care?

People are being asked for their feedback on a briefing paper issued by the Department of Finance on how Northern Ireland spends its money.

The Department of Finance says that a number of options are available for balancing the budget and they are intended to inform debate about the issues that will face an Executive Ministers ahead of the new financial year.

Image credit: Flickr

Important decisions need to be made about future public funding, including Health and Social Care and people need to be involved in these decisions.

The briefing paper sets out three scenarios.  These scenarios are not proposed budget settlements and no decisions have yet been taken. Their purpose is to show the kinds of choices that will need to be considered by Ministers in reaching agreement on a Budget, and to help inform debate on public spending.

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The Flu - what you need to know

'Aussie flu' has been making headlines recently, but what is it and how does it differ from the normal flu?

The NHS has been experiencing a bad flu season after a strain, dubbed the ‘Aussie flu’, has spread globally.

Last year in 2017, Australia was hit hard with the flu around winter time – which is around July there – and it caused big problems for the country.

The strain, H3N2, is an influenza A virus – one of the most common types – that appears to cause more severe infections in young children and the elderly.

For those people, and those with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, this strain of flu can be deadly.

'Aussie flu' has been making headlines recently, but what is it and how does it differ from the normal flu?

The NHS has been experiencing a bad flu season after a strain, dubbed the ‘Aussie flu’, has spread globally.

Last year in 2017, Australia was hit hard with the flu around winter time – which is around July there – and it caused big problems for the country.

The strain, H3N2, is an influenza A virus – one of the most common types – that appears to cause more severe infections in young children and the elderly.

For those people, and those with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, this strain of flu can be deadly.

Read more ...

Pressures on Emergency Departments

Maeve Hully, Chief Executive

Over the past few weeks, you might have experience of visiting a very busy hospital Emergency Department, or heard about the pressures facing our Health service on the news. Why is this happening?

The Health and Social Care Board says the number of people attending Emergency Departments has risen by 24% (3,039 patients) since 2013/14 for the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

They have produced information for patients on why our Emergency Departments come under pressure so much around this time of year. Having this information available is useful, so we can all better understand our Health and Social Care system here, and what we can do to help ourselves and go to the right place for care.

There are a range of alternative services that people can access if they do not need emergency care. These include using the online A-Z symptom checker, seeking advice from a pharmacist, going to a Minor Injury Unit, or contacting a GP or the GP Out of Hours services (if their medical condition can’t wait until the GP surgery reopens). People can also check the average waiting times in their local Emergency Department

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The Shared Lives Scheme -H elping People Enjoy Life Together

How The Shared Lives Scheme Is Helping People Enjoy Life Together

Shared Lives Schemes have been running in Northern Ireland for more than 20 years. They were formally known as adult placement schemes and provide care for adults in approved family homes as an alternative to institutional care. In Northern Ireland, Shared Lives Schemes currently focus exclusively on supporting adults with a learning disability. Stephanie and Martin Kenny from Belfast are long-standing Shared Lives carers who provide care for Ann.

“We provide short respite breaks for two adults with learning disabilities through the Families Matter Shared Lives Service and gain so much from having them in our lives.

Read more ...

More Articles ...

  1. How Healthcare Services Are Costing The Earth
  2. 'New passport designed to ease the journey in hospital'
  3. Caring For Someone At The End Of Their Life
  4. I Was Told Nothing Was Wrong Even Though I Was Having Daily Seizures
  5. The Ongoing Road To Recovery
  6. Ovarian Cancer Awareness - Mary's Story
  7. ‘I Fought The Demons Inside My Head Every Day’
  8. ‘I Was Tangled Up In A Web Of My Own Lies’
  9. Singing Therapy Hits The Right Note
  10. I Believed in Myself
  11. #STILL ME
  12. Parkinson's Information
  13. The Hidden Heartache Of One In Four
  14. Caring For Someone With Huntington’s Disease Means Having To Grow Up Fast
  15. Organ Donation – Having Information To Make Decisions
  16. What’s The Real Cost Of Unused Medicines?
  17. Raising Awareness Of Sarcoma
  18. Patients' Views On Diabetes
  19. What's It Really Like For People Living With Dementia And Their Families?
  20. The Challenges Of Living With Coeliac Disease.
  21. Living with Parkinsons
  22. Nutrition at home
  23. "Understanding The Person, Not The Medication"
  24. Volunteering in Health Care Settings
  25. Living With Postnatal Depression
  26. 'Caring For Someone You Love Is A Privilege'
  27. Increasing awareness and understanding of depression
  28. Life can be a pain
  29. Patients' Access To Their Medical Records – Where Next In Northern Ireland?
  30. Taking about Serious Illness
  31. Living With Endometriosis
  32. Finding Heart In Hopelessness: Caring For Someone With Huntington’s Disease.
  33. Caring For The Dying
  34. Caring For Older People In Their Own Homes
  35. Tom's Story: Living With MS
  36. 7 Day Working For Hospital Consultants
  37. Waiting Times – A Never-Ending Story?
  38. Talking about "Dementiaville"
  39. Are Self-Service Check In Screens A Good Idea?
  40. Waiting in A & E
  41. New PHA Cancer Awareness Programme
  42. Skin may help spot Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease
  43. To Pay or not to Pay - Perscription Charges
  44. Are The Expectations Of Patients Too High?
  45. New European code prescribes 12 ways to prevent cancer
  46. Hypothyroidism - Underactive Thyroid
  47. Endometriosis
  48. Organ Donation
  49. Blood Pressure - know your numbers
  50. Mental Health App available to download for FREE!
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