HEADSUP is an evidence based mental health education and training programme for men who are finding life stressful, have issues with unemployment, feel isolated or lonely and wish to learn ways to improve their wellbeing. This group programme aims to encourage participants to make positive changes to their lives, develop resilience and offers support to access local services and supports.
HEADSUP gives men the opportunity to build their mental and physical fitness while developing the inability to make connections, set goals and develop a life plan to ‘get back on-track’. Each programme varies as the needs of the participants are identified and supported through the pillars and principles of the Heads Up programme.
Our Story - The HEADSUP programme - formally known as Mojo - was initially developed by South Dublin County Partnership in Tallaght in 2011 and funded by the National Office of Suicide Prevention (NOSP). It was developed to support men who were affected by unemployment and/or the recession in Tallaght which increased their risk of distress. This distress is evidenced by higher levels of mental health concerns and can range from an initial, first experience of lower level mental health issues to substantial mental health concerns including severe depression and self harm. Due to their mental health distress, such men are at higher risk of suicide. Since then Heads Up has evolved into an eclectic and dynamic evidenced based training programme that combines a unique mix of mental health, adult guidance, physical fitness and social networking methodologies. The mixed methodologies afford men the opportunity to build their mental and physical fitness while developing their ability to make connections, set goals and develop a life plan. It has chartered new approaches to interagency working in suicide prevention, and its development has been informed by research and rigorous evaluation.
In 2014, based on the successful outcomes for the men and the organisations involved in South Dublin, NOSP agreed to fund a second pilot to test the developmental model in Kildare, a mixed rural and urban setting. Heads Up Kildare, like Heads Up South Dublin, is a community led organisation, managed by County Kildare Leader Partnership and guided by an Interagency Advisory Group comprising of multiple organisations working across health, education, employment, welfare and social inclusion. Like South Dublin, Heads Up Kildare's pilot was externally evaluated and lead to the project becoming a county wide initiative in 2016. In 2018, Ballyfermot/Chapelizod and South Dublin Partnerships applied to CHO 7 Mental Health Division to deliver a Heads Up project across their catchment areas.
Structure and Governance - Core funding for the HEADSUP Programme comes from HSE Mental Health Division in CHO 7. A regional forum of representatives from each project meet quarterly with the H.S.E. Each Heads Up Project is managed by their local area development companies - Kildare, South Dublin and Ballyfermot/South Inner City and advised by a local interagency advisory group. Interagency Advisory members are selected based on their experience of supporting mental health, general health, training, education, housing, employment, financial, social inclusion, or working with men more generally.