We have over a decade of experience delivering peer-focused self-management to a range of populations. For nearly 20 years, icap has offered psychotherapy and counselling services to the Irish migrant community in Britain.
The project was developed in response to research in the London Boroughs of Camden and Islington that identified two particular risk factors for poor mental health and suicide: being a man in mid-life and being born in the Republic of Ireland. These self-management courses aimed to equip people with skills and knowledge to reduce that risk.
Our self-management course helped to give participants a greater sense of choice and control in their lives. It was based on the fact that everyone will already have strategies for managing their mental health, whether or not they know it. The course built on this existing knowledge, and developed participants’ skills in goal-setting and problem-solving and encouraged them to draw on their own experience in setting priorities and tackling challenges in their lives.
The project name ‘Comhar’ came about after an event held with organisations working in the Irish community. The name translates as ‘partnership’ or ‘teamwork’ in Irish.
The format of each meeting facilitated discussions of a topic or activity that participants will choose. This was paired with a self-management topic for that day.
Funded by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust and the City Bridge Trust, the course aimed to engage with 120 men. Peer facilitators were also trained, and peer support groups were formed that will extend beyond the lifetime of the project.