Inishowen community mental health project ‘breaks the mould’ – Donegal Daily

Greencastle Community Center’s Grow project is breaking the mold of mental health service delivery in Inishowen.

Designed and delivered by Michaela McDaid Ecotherapy, this innovative product the course emphasized connecting with nature and community, and was a huge Hit.

Participants did not need a diagnosis, referral, or financial means to participate.

The only stipulation was a desire to support their well-being and ability to commit six Saturday mornings.

Twelve people started, all finished, and each the evaluation recorded a significant improvement in mental health outcomes.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to take a course like this,” said one participant.

“The Grow Project has helped my mental health in so many ways.”

Brave band members enjoying a dip in the sea.

Based on a model of education, empowerment and experience, the group was introduced to different ecotherapy experiences each week.

These included foraging, forest bathing, art therapy, horse therapy, bushcraft as well as sea walking and swimming.

Crucially, connections have been made with local people and places, ensuring that ecotherapy remains realistic and sustainable long after the course has ended.

Michaela and Susan McAleer from the Greencastle Community Center worked closely together to tailor the course.

“Michaela’s approach is so refreshing,” explained Susan.

“Every attention to detail reflected our specific needs, and the sessions were delivered with such heart.

“We hope to expand this project in the future so that more people can benefit from this fantastic experience.”

Participants get closer to nature.

Generously funded by Mental Health Ireland, all expenses for the Grow project supported local businesses and independent animators.

Michaela explained, “People heal and grow in community. Login with nature, others and oneself undeniably improves mental health.

“From design to evaluation, the Grow project was a collective effort. That’s why it worked so well good.”

Inishowen Community Mental Health Project ‘breaks the mould’ was last modified: November 16, 2022 by Personal editor

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