Saintfield Man raises £27,000 For Aware


Peter Phillips openly talks to Down News to share his journey with mental health and he has inspired people to donate over £27,000 to Northern Ireland’s leading depression charity.

Peter Phillips (24) from Saintfield took to the internet to share his story of recovery from mental health issues to encourage others to open up and to seek help from the free resources available in Northern Ireland.

He called out for people to sponsor him when he ran the Sydney 42k marathon (on 15t September 2019) to raise funds for AWARE – the depression charity for Northern Ireland. His inspiring honesty moved so many people to donate an outstanding total of £27,033.75 for AWARE.

AWARE’s focus is to promote positive mental health and wellbeing in all ages of Northern Ireland’s population. They offer a range of services that assist in the prevention and early intervention of mental ill-health as well as offer support for those in their recovery.

Definitely a winner: Saintfield man Peter Philips pictured in Sydney, Australia, after his sponsored run in aid of Aware-NI.

They provide over 25 free-to-attend support groups around the country, where people can come and meet with others on a similar journey to find comfort in the fact that they are not alone, that there are people that understand, and can discuss ways to move forward. AWARE also offers CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) centred group programmes that can help you learn how to challenge bad thinking patterns and to practice a healthier mind-set. 

Every penny raised for AWARE is spent in Northern Ireland said Peter, and added on hisJust Giving page: “I was living with anxiety and depression, but I was unwilling to accept it. In all aspects of life, I was always very independent, deeming asking for help as a sign of weakness. I treated my mental health the same way, and as a result, things spiralled to the point I couldn’t cope anymore. This essentially culminated in the development of suicidal thoughts. It wasn’t until this stage that I accepted help was required.

Northern Ireland is in the midst of a crisis in mental health, and for the majority, large waiting lists await on the NHS for those requiring immediate help. Unfortunately, help at times comes too late, and sadly not everyone has a success story like mine.

“I am therefore running the Sydney marathon, and raising funds for AWARE. The service they provide is free of charge to those in need which provides a lifeline and chance to change lives. Any funds I can raise will help ensure these much-necessitated services reach as many people as possible.”

Lesley Wright, Community & Events Fundraising Officer for AWARE praised Peter and said: “We are just so touched by Peter’s dedication to raise funds for AWARE. It is incredible to see a young man open up about his journey with mental health and hopefully encourage so many others like him that it is ok to do the same.

“The funds and mind-blowing messages of support that Peter has received will go a long way towards helping those living in Northern Ireland with depression, anxiety or bipolar, and who need a little bit of support on their road to recovery.

“We would also like to thank those who have supported Peter by sponsoring him, and of course his brother James for travelling with Peter and taking part in the marathon to support him on his personal challenge”.

  • Peter’s justgiving page is still live should people still wish to donate.