In 2011, Mojo (originally called Men At Risk To Suicide) was set up in Tallaght to pilot an interagency response to men who were distressed due to unemployment. The premise was that forced unemployment increases a man’s risk to suicide. It was also understood by the programme developers that agencies, statutory and non-statutory, working collectively have the potential to provide a more effective response than those working in isolation. Mojo was developed by South Dublin County Partnership (SDCP) and is funded by the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP). Derek Mc Donnell was employed by SDCP on a part-time basis to lead the programme and to develop the interagency framework.
By working in partnership, Mojo has emerged as an evidenced based, multidisciplinary, process that provides a service to distressed men in the form of a training programme. The local service is guided by an interagency advisory group and the training programme is run by core staff who are supported by facilitators from a range of local and national agencies. One of our key partners in developing this innovative and experiential process are the men attending the programme.
Mojo men have been empowered through additional training and development to continue their connection to each other.
In 2013, supported by the SCDP, men who had been through the programme established a Mojo Men’s Shed. The Shed provides a space for men across South Dublin to connect to each other while engaging in a range of resilience and skills building activities. For more information on the Mojo Shed you can contact Danny on 087 793 8489.
There were a number of requests from organisations working across Ireland to establish a Mojo Project in their area.
A new programme manager, Catherine Mooney, was recruited to lead Mojo South Dublin so that Derek could focus on upscaling Mojo.
In 2015, Teach Dara agreed to host Mojo Kildare and to lead the interagency response for the county. Niamh Keaveney is the programme manager and using the Mojo Toolkit and support from multiple partners, successfully adapted the model to develop a bespoke Mojo Project for men in Kildare.
Derek continued to build an Interagency Steering Committee (ISC) to help him implement a strategy to upscale Mojo Projects across Ireland. Part of our strategy is to explore affiliating Mojo with a national organisation in order to build solid foundations on which to grow. A number of organisations were approached to find a suitable fit.
In conjunction with the Samaritans, we trained 10 Mojo men to become better listeners through our Mojo Listen’s Training Programme; the idea is that men learn new skills so that they can listen to other men in distress, share their own experience of accessing support and provide a list of services available.
Two new sites and potential partners were identified to establish Mojo Projects in Offaly and North Dublin.
The NOSP continued to invest in Mojo’s development as its our mission is to support the ‘Connecting for Life Strategy’ to reduce the number of male suicides in Ireland.
In June of this year we started work on Mojo Offaly and Mojo North Dublin with a collective of organisations led by OLDC in Offaly and BRYR in North Dublin. To manage the addition of these pilots in Offaly and North Dublin (18 to 25 year olds) and provide funding to the Projects, Mojo affiliated with Mental Health Ireland in a capacity building exercise as an interim solution which was set out in a memorandum of understanding.
A Start Up and Accreditation Guidebook was developed to support new and existing Projects to implement our, evidenced based, training programmes in line with our Quality Standards.
The Pilots in Offaly and North Dublin were completed, it was decided to continue working in Offaly as the Project produced significant results for local men, however, unfortunately, due to operational issues and the number of referrals, it was agreed to explore other options for engaging younger men in North Dublin.
The Board of Mojo Men engaged key stakeholders including the HSE, policy influences and decision makers to explore options for building Mojo Projects in line with our, evidence based, Quality Standards.
The change in our organisational structure meant that our Project in Kildare decided to establish themselves as an independent Project no longer using the Mojo name.
Through external evaluations and the experience of implementing our training programmes over the last seven years, we have learned the best route to engaging men in distress (in rural and urban settings). The experience has afforded us the expertise to be in a position to respond to the demand for Mojo Projects.
In 2018, negotiations continue with funders and local partners to explore options to establish new Mojo Projects, Mojo Offaly continues to thrive while Helping Men To Help Themselves. In April, 12 men completed a 12 week training programme with all of them moving on to work, education, or volunteering