campaigning and lobbying

As well as offering direct support to those affected by severe mental illness and other mental health difficulties though delivery of community-based services, MindWise also has a defined Public Affairs function which is dedicated to raising awareness of mental illness and challenging the stigma and discrimination that often surrounds it.


MindWise is dedicated to lobbying our local political representatives and institutions to ensure that mental illness becomes and remains a significant political issue which is addressed in a serious manner by all political parties in Northern Ireland. For the past 3 years we have successfully ran a programme called ‘Rethink Politics’ which was funded by the Electoral Commission with the objective of informing people with mental illness about local political processes and encouraging them to engage with them. The ‘Rethink Politics’ programme has seen a number of engagements take place between those affected by mental illness and local elected representatives through mechanisms such as politics coffee morning, a politics convention and trips to Stormont. MindWise will continue to encourage and empower those affected by severe mental illness and other mental health difficulties to engage with local political processes and to lobby their locally elected representatives to advocate in terms of the rights and need for services to support those affected by mental illness. MindWise will also continue to lobby directly to local politicians to ensure the become and remain informed about the issues facing the many individuals living in Northern Ireland today who are affected by mental illness.


MindWise is dedicated to campaigning in local communities and specific community-based settings to raise awareness with the general public about mental illness and also to challenge the prejudice and stigma that often surrounds mental health conditions. This campaigning can take the form of specific targeted activities to raise awareness/challenge stigma such as engaging in artistic expression of the issue of mental illness though activities such as art exhibitions or touring plays with a theme of mental illness. Or by sustained and ongoing campaigning to raise awareness and challenge attitudes with certain sections of the population such as the ‘Open Your Mind’ programme which is aimed at the third-level student population of Northern Ireland.

‘Open Your Mind’

National Lottery

'Open Your Mind' is a 5 year partnership programme between MindWise and NUS-USI which has been financed by the Big Lottery Fund with the objectives of:

  • Raising awareness of mental illness in the student population
  • Equipping students with the skills and knowledge to protect their own mental health and support their peers
  • Encouraging earlier presentation for support by students displaying symptoms of mental illness
  • Challenging the stigma and discrimination that students affected by mental illness many face

  • The programme is being delivered across all university and college campuses across Northern Ireland on a ‘rolling’ basis with an emphasis being placed on a particular campus or college setting in each year of the programme.
  • As well as the activities directed at the broad student population, the programme aims to recruit 100 participants per year who can avail of free Open College Network (OCN) training in areas such as peer mentoring or mental health awareness so that an infrastructure of students helping students can be built up throughout the life of the programme.
  • The programme also comprises a two major pieces of research into student knowledge of and attitudes towards mental illness which will inform future development of support and information services for this often ‘challenging’ period in a young person’s life when they transition from living at home to becoming more independent and developing their career aspirations.
  • The programme is run by Elaine Kelly the ‘Open Your Mind’ scheme coordinator and anyone interested in knowing more about the programme or in taking part can contact Elaine directly by telephoning
    028 9024 4641 or you can email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Open Your Mind - Update - Click Here


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