A unique initiative bringing together communities from across Carrickfergus and Larne to promote better mental health and reduce the impact of substance and alcohol misuse has been announced today. The campaign will go live at the traditional Boxing Day fixture between Carrick Rangers and Larne Football Club at the Loughshore Hotel arena.

The Be Aware campaign is being led by Intercomm, Extern and Northern Ireland Alternatives and is being support by The Executive Office through its Communities in Transition programme.

Jonathan Hodge, who has been helping to design and manage the campaign said, “We have been working with different communities across Carrickfergus and Larne to help them highlight issues that are important to them. Mental health problems and substance and alcohol misuse are major issues at the moment and this campaign and follow on support have been developed to provide a response to this.”

Linsey Farrell from The Executive Office said, We are delighted to be supporting this collaborative initiative through the Communities in Transition project to promote the importance of mental health and raise awareness of substance and alcohol misuse in Carrickfergus and Larne area. 

The project reflects the Executive Office’s commitment in ensuring the voice of communities is recognised in identifying local issues of which health and wellbeing of individuals is paramount.”  

Promoting better mental health and reduce the impact of substance and alcohol misuse

The campaign is being supported by high profile local figures such as former Northern Ireland international and Premier League defender Gareth McAuley and Radio 1 DJ and music producer DJ Fergie.

The campaign will include billboards, social media videos and posters and information on how to get support from organisations such as Extern – which offers a range of mental health and well-being services in the East Antrim area through its Communities in Transition project - as well as training in schools and with community groups.

Jonathan continued, “The campaign has gained a significant amount of momentum, with everyone from local sporting figures to business people coming on board. 

We are also working with the likes of champion boxer Ryan Burnett and local social media personalities such as India Sasha to spread the message as widely as possible and to encourage people to seek support if they need it.”

All the publicity and information materials include a QR code and e-mail address which can direct anyone to support. The support is available to people of all ages and to anyone who is affected by substance and alcohol misuse and mental health problems, including carers.