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The Belfast wall bringing hope for brighter days

2023-06-01 17:50:27 source:CBS News author:Press center4 click:386order

"For every dark night there's a brighter day."

That's the message a group of young men in east Belfast is hoping inspires and gives comfort to people struggling with their mental health.

The young men have been meeting as a group every week since the death of one of their friends last year and have now unveiled a public art piece in a local park, in his memory.

Adam Woods was 21 when he died of an accidental drug overdose.

The artwork is part of a project based in Orangefield Park.

They hope it will also promote mental health awareness among young people who use the park.

The initiative has been supported by community groups including East Belfast Alternatives and Communities in Transition as well as Belfast City Council.

Cameron Watson, who is part of the group, believes the opportunity to meet up each week and have a laugh with mates helps young people who may be sad or depressed.

"It's brilliant because you never know, someone could be sitting in their house and they could be feeling very low, very down," he told BBC News NI.

"We do it every Thursday night. Having a chat for an hour, an hour and a half, it could make somebody's week."

Daniel Hodos also paid tribute to his friend at the art's unveiling.

"Adam's just another one of those unfortunate people to have lost their lives to the mental health crisis we have in Northern Ireland," he said.

Another of the group's participants, Luke Allison, hopes the project will help older generations have a better understanding about young people in the area and hear their voices.

"I think there's a bit of a divide with people not understanding us and thinking maybe we're just messers, we're young lads, we're negative, we're anti-social," he added.

"This just shows how much we aren't and how we're going to be the future of this place."

Adam's mother, Lynda Woods, told BBC News NI she was overwhelmed by the effort that has gone into the project.

"It's just a testament of what they think of Adam and how much he touched their lives," she said.

"They're just so articulate and so passionate about mental health and helping the community."

Adam's family and friends want the inscription on the art piece, "for every dark night there's a brighter day", to be an inspiration to other young people who may be struggling with their mental health.

If you are affected by any of the issues in this article you can find help and advice at BBC Action Line.

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