Comhar men’s groups

The Mental Health Foundation is partnering with icap (Immigration Counselling and Psychotherapy) to deliver self-management courses for Irish men in mid-life.

The Mental Health Foundation has over a decade of experience delivering peer focused self-management with 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 following a piece of 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. The self-management courses therefore aim to equip participants with skills and learning that will mitigate that risk.

The Mental Health Foundation’s self-management course aims to give participants a greater sense of choice and agency in their lives. It is based on an acknowledgment that everyone will already have strategies for managing their mental health, whether or not they acknowledge them as such. The course builds upon this existing knowledge, developing participants’ skills in goal-setting and problem-solving, and encouraging them to draw on their own experience in setting priorities and tackling challenges in their lives.

The project name ‘Comhar’ was selected at a consultation event held with organisations working in the Irish community. The name translates as ‘partnership’ or ‘teamwork’ in Irish.

The format of each meeting will accommodate discussion of a topic or engagement in an activity which participants will chose. This will be paired with a self-management topic for that day.

Funded by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust and the City Bridge Trust, the course aims to engage with 120 men. Peer facilitators will also be trained, and peer support groups formed, that will extend beyond the lifetime of the project.

Find out more about taking part as a participant here.