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 Launching the SWIRL Project in Ards and North Down

Within the Making Life Better framework (2013-2023), the Public Health Agency project eagerly pursues the enhancement of both physical and mental well-being within the local community. While its overarching goal is to uplift and sustain health outcomes, particular emphasis is placed on bolstering physical vitality alongside mental resilience. This commitment extends beyond mere awareness-raising efforts, delving deep into adopting a culture of healthier lifestyles.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic’s toll on mental health, the project has steadfastly upheld its dedication to mindfulness-based interventions. These interventions, strategically interwoven into diverse program components such as art classes, the Camilla Book Club, aromatherapy and reflexology workshops, horticultural classes, and Pilates, serve as effective tools to mitigate stress, alleviate anxiety, and combat social isolation. Through these practices, individuals are guided towards embracing present-moment awareness, thus fortifying their psychological well-being.

Furthermore, the project is committed to equipping participants with the necessary skills to effectively manage their mental health. Educational workshops and readily available resources serve as pillars of support, empowering individuals to navigate their mental well-being with confidence. By forging partnerships with local health trusts and community organisations like the Kilcooley Health Partnership as well as the Sexual Health working group, the project aims to highlight the ethos that physical and mental health-based interventions remain accessible and sustainable for all.

The recent Health Fair, held in March 2024, underscored the project’s unwavering dedication to overall health and well-being. Alongside an array of health-promoting initiatives, mindfulness activities took centre stage, offering attendees first-hand experience of their benefits. From engaging in mindfulness exercises to accessing resources for ongoing practice, individuals were empowered to prioritise their mental and physical health journey.