At the beginning of lockdown, experts warned physical and mental wellbeing was likely to be severely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. This prompted the Innovation Recovery Project, a cross-border mental health education initiative, to adapt its services and switch to free online and interactive learning.
The Project, which uses a ‘lived experience’ learning approach to helping people improve their mental health and wellbeing has ran over 69 courses since the COVID-19 lockdown.
John Meehan, Project Chair of the Innovation Recovery Project explains why making the move to online delivery during the pandemic was vital,
“Looking after your mental health by staying connected in new ways has never been more important. Our courses are usually delivered across three geographical cross-border regions and this model has been applied for online learning too. Each workshop is written and delivered by people with their own experience of living with a mental health need, alongside those with professional experience and knowledge.
“Whilst online and phone is not the choice for many people to stay connected, it has enabled a lot of us to stay well and have hope at a very challenging time.”
Cathy McCloskey, Project Manager of the Innovation Recovery Project added,
“Since lockdown began, we have had nearly 400 participants for our tailored online courses, which has included The Covid Wellness Toolbox, Mindful Sleep, and Mindfulness and Relaxation.
“The provision of the online courses has been so important and allows more people to attend from the comfort of their own home. They also give people the sense that they are not alone even if they sometimes feel that way, offering a connection to those who may be in isolation or going through a difficult time.”
Since its inception two years ago, the Innovation Recovery Project, which is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, has delivered courses to over 2,500 people. The aim of the project over its lifespan of four years is to engage 8,000 people in mental health recovery education.