HeadsUp is a Rehab project targeted at improving young people’s mental well-being with the overall goal being to reduce suicide amongst the 15 - 24 year age group. Up to 500 people die from suicide in Ireland annually, a significant proportion of these being young adults.
By using a mental health promotion approach, HeadsUp seeks to interact with young people before they reach a point of crisis. Launched in 2005, HeadsUp aims to help young people enhance their resilience by teaching them essential life skills, showing them where to go for help and advice, and by de-stigmatising mental health.
HeadsUp initiatives include:
HeadsUp Text, a free and confidential 24-hour automated text service, supported by Meteor, which provides young people with details of a range of helplines and support services under 12 different categories including suicide, mental health, drugs, sexuality and debt. Organisations such as the Samaritans, AL Anon, Aware and Bodywhys, are among the many support services listed which can be accessed by texting HEADSUP to 50424.
HeadsUp also delivers ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) equips people with the knowledge and the ability to recognise the warning signs of suicidal behaviour , how to ask if someone is feeling like completing suicide and what to do is someone is in distress. The training enables participants to become suicide first aiders in the workplace and community, identifying signs and addressing areas for intervention.
HeadsUp also encompasses HeadsUp Lifeskills, an interactive training course aimed at enhancing young people’s skills and abilities in dealing with life’s ups and downs. Modules include communication skills, problem solving and goal setting.
Raising Boys for Fathers is a parenting programme which helps fathers to improve their communication skills with their sons in dealing with life’s problems. Consisting of two, two-hour sessions, the course aims to enhance a positive relationship between father and son and highlight fathers as supportive role models in their sons’ lives. The course has been delivered in sixteen locations throughout Ireland and feedback has been very positive with participants highlighting the beneficial affects on both fathers and sons.
Meanwhile, the HeadsUp website, www.headsup.ie, enables young people to find out about mental health issues, promote positive mental health and provide information and support to those in need. The site includes a host of cutting-edge features including Mind Gym with lots of interactive games, Self Help modules and ‘Art from the Heart’, along with information on support services, well-being tips, and fact sheets, and reviews and competitions.