AWARE is a depression and mental health focused charity with an established network of support groups across Northern Ireland. They deliver wellbeing programmes to all generations, and work daily to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic of mental health so that it can be discussed more openly.

The impact of the pandemic and restrictions, such as the closure of schools, is likely to have a big impact on the mental health of many young people. A recent study of children and young people in Northern Ireland showed that rates of anxiety and depression are around 25% higher than in other parts of the UK, with 1 in 8 experiencing emotional difficulties.

AWARE’s Mood Matters Young People programme gives young people knowledge and skills that they can use to maintain good mental health and build resilience in order to better deal with problems and challenges. AWARE are currently delivering their Mood Matters workshops online due to the current lockdown restrictions.

In addition to raising funds to enable AWARE to reach thousands more young people across Northern Ireland, Danske will work with AWARE to help raise general local awareness of the challenges around managing mental health.

Karen Collins, Chief Executive of AWARE said:

“We are delighted Danske Bank has chosen AWARE as their charity partner. Their support will make a phenomenal difference in expanding the reach of people we can help. The partnership comes in a special year for AWARE, as we are celebrating our 25th anniversary.

“The past year has been a difficult one for everyone, with lockdown leaving many feeling isolated. We have seen a 46% increase in demand for our support group services. Danske’s partnership will help us expand these services so that we can provide even more support to those who need it.”

Danske Bank’s Chief Executive Kevin Kingston added:

“For us, a successful charity partnership is about working together to help address a significant societal issue. Even the most optimistic of us will have at times struggled with our mental health over this past year. It impacts everyone to varying degrees, no matter who you are. That includes our own colleagues, our customers and wider society. We want to use our influence as Northern Ireland’s biggest bank to help address the issue.

“We support AWARE’s vision for a future where everyone can talk about their mental health openly, access services appropriate to their needs and develop the skills and knowledge to maintain positive mental health. We also look forward to learning from AWARE’s 25 years’ experience and knowledge to better support our colleagues and customers.”