HSE launch psycho-social sports/leisure intervention programme for MHID service users in Co. Wexford.

HSE have launched a psycho-social sports/leisure intervention programme for MHID (Mental Health Intellectual Disability) service users in Co. Wexford.

A co-produced psycho-social sports/leisure intervention programme is under way in Co. Wexford, as part of the HSE/South East Community Healthcare’s Mental Health Intellectual Disability services.

Part funded through Mental Health Ireland’s Kevin Plunkett Bursary Award, the first gathering of participants were recently facilitated at the Half Way House Bunclody GAA club’s indoor arena and will be ongoing there on the last Friday of every month.

28 service users from the HSE’s Havenview (Enniscorthy), Croí an Tobar (Oylegate) and Westlands (Wexford Town) residences were brought along to enjoy a day’s sporting activities, followed by refreshments at the River’s Edge restaurant in Bunclody.

This event for people with specific complex needs, which took place in the Bunclody arena is part of a community based co-production programme developed by the Wexford Mental Health Services to enhance the quality of life outcomes of its MHID residents, through activation and sports interests. This initiative coincides with the establishment of the new MHID service for Wexford/Waterford Mental Health Services last September, featuring Consultant Psychiatrist Dr. Xavier Fluvia, Candidate Advanced Nurse Practitioner Mick Mahon, Clinical Nurse Specialist Tom Wall and Admin Pauline Cullen-Fenlon.

Developed as a collaborative initiative between the person, their family and staff, the project aims to promote inclusion and collaboration within the community setting. Beginning with an hour of functionally related sports activity once monthly, the project plan will extend to fortnightly intervention and, over time, it is hoped to further develop the project across Co. Wexford.

Speaking at the HWH Arena, Mick Mahon (Candidate Advanced Nurse Practitioner with the HSE/South East Community Healthcare’s Waterford/Wexford Mental Health Intellectual Disabilities Team) said:

“Various studies have shown that the use of  restrictive practices, incidences of challenging behaviour and isolation decrease where residents of MHID units have been participating in and benefitting from coproduction programmes like this – part of which is involving their families along the way and evaluating the changes evident from their loved one’s involvement. We have excellent services delivered at residences and in the community by a dedicated mental health and intellectual disability care staff in Co. Wexford, but we were keen to expand into utilising a psycho-social sports/leisure intervention programme based in the community.”

“We are delighted to receive support from the Mental Health Ireland organisation, particularly as their bursary is named in memory of our late colleague Kevin Plunkett. Kevin served as diligent Area Director of Nursing for Waterford/Wexford Mental Health Service and passed away two years ago. Kevin’s successor, Kasia Nolan Area Director of Nursing, has similarly been instrumental in supporting co-produced quality initiatives across the mental health service.”

“In getting under way with our programme in Bunclody, we also remember the late Mickey Connors, who passed away recently. A cherished resident of Havenview in Enniscorthy, Mickey would have been the first person to have his coat ready to go an event like this. We look forward to Mickey’s family join us at the May gathering in Bunclody, where we will formally name our project the ‘Mickey Connors Sports and Social Club’.”

“The support of the HWH Bunclody GAA Club in facilitating us is also very much appreciated, underlining as it does the connection to community life outside the participant’s residential unit. It’s also a boost in what we are doing to be joined both in the arena and for refreshments afterwards at the River’s Edge by families of the service users.”

“We look forward to expanding this psycho-social sports/leisure intervention programme to the wider community in the near future, which will encompass more participants, where we can provide further opportunities to improve quality of life outcomes to this complex specific client group”

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