For the past year many individuals have battled with their mental health whilst facing new hurdles that have been brought about and heightened by the pandemic.  

Mark is an Inclusion Works (Eastern area) service user who has been working hard with his Inclusion works Case Officer, Caoimhe to overcome some of his own personal battles with bipolar disorder and depression throughout this challenging time.

He is now feeling that he is much better equipped to cope with circumstances that were previously more unfamiliar to us, such as isolation.

Speaking about the experience Mark said:

“ Throughout the lockdown I’ve found the support provided by my Case Officer and the Cedar Foundation to be crucial for my wellbeing.  At the beginning of lockdown, my regular phone calls from my Case Officer, gave me the chance to talk about how I was feeling, which played a big part in improving my mindset".

Mark went on to say:

"It also helped to be able to discuss things that could support me. Together, we came up with a plan which was very simple but effective and encouraged me to take the steps to keep myself well.

We set the goal of completing ‘5 small tasks’ each day, which would allow me to feel productive and take responsibility for my own wellbeing goals.”

Mark now hopes to help others who are feeling isolated in the community. He is passionate about becoming a befriender and finding ways to provide support to those who need it most.

In conclusion he said:

“I so appreciate the help of the Cedar Foundation, the help I have received this past year has been so important for me. I don’t know where I would be without it.”

This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy. Funding is also provided by the Department for Communities and all five local HSCTs in Northern Ireland.

Inclusion Works supports adults with disabilities who are keen to build employability skills and experience to be work-ready, then moving into a paid job, college course or volunteering on leaving. Specialist physical disability, ASD and brain injury support is available and tailored to each individual and their needs. Following initial assessments, participants will build an action plan, drawn from a menu of choices to address their personal barriers and agree solutions to meet their employability and inclusion goals. Inclusion Works is person-centred, encouraging and supporting individuals to design their own programmes around their needs and aspirations, building confidence and independence.  For more information email