What is unique about SOS
There are lots of things that are unique about SOS. In terms of service delivery one of our main unique points is that service users are involved in the design and delivery of all of our programmes. The organisation is led by a CEO and founder with lived experience of mental health difficulties and suicide and she is involved in the direct delivery of all of our programmes. Another unique feature is that while we are passionate about reaching as many people as possible our aim is to expand our services rather than our organisation for example we are currently piloting a licensing system for our Eden Programme whereby community based organisations can run the programme themselves in their own community. We always work in partnership as we believe that it is only by working together with others that we can achieve our aim.
Is recovery really possible?
Absolutely. Research evidence shows that people who have struggled with their mental health (regardless of how severe that struggle might be or how long it goes on for) can and do recover with the right supports, environment and encouragement
Tell me about SOS
Suicide or Survive is a charity that was set up in 2003 by Caroline McGuigan to fill some of the gaps she experienced in the services provided to her following her own suicide attempt and in service gaps identified by others. The mission of SOS is “to challenge the stigma attached to mental illness and provide a range of educational and therapeutic programmes that increase understanding of suicide and play an active role in its prevention in Ireland” (Suicide or Survive 2012).
When was it founded?
SOS was founded in 2003 and became incorporated in 2005
What kind of programmes do you run
We run three main programmes all aimed at helping people to develop the tools, techniques and skills they need to manage and maintain their own mental health. The Eden Programme is specifically for people who have made a suicide attempt or are experiencing suicidal thoughts and aims to help them learn to manage their own mental health and to move away from suicide as an option of first choice in times of crisis. The Wellness Workshop and WRAP programmes are aimed at the general public and help people to develop skills, tools and techniques to take control of their own mental wellness. We also deliver Workplace mental health training in partnership with See Change and are involved in a wide range of stigma reduction and other mental health and wellness promotion activities nationwide.
Tell me about the Eden Programme?
The Eden Programme was established by SOS to create a safe space where people over the age of 18 years who have attempted suicide or had suicidal thoughts, can work towards moving away from suicide as a choice in times of crisis. It is a 24 week group programme which is educational in nature with a therapeutic element. It runs for 3 hours one day per week.
The programme aims to provide participants with a chance to explore their own experiences, develop their personal skills and wellness strategies, and source avenues of support and assistance. The programme forms one part of an individual’s support system and encourages those who attend to work on building natural supports in their own communities. It is a unique and innovative programme which participants report has been really useful to them in learning to manage and maintain their own mental wellness and in moving away from suicide as an option of choice in difficult times.
Is the Eden Programme Effective?
Every person is different. We work with the group and also with the individual participants to help them improve their well-being. We are continually evaluating the Eden Programme and feedback from participants to date indicates that the majority of those who attend find the programme useful and report having learned tools and strategies to manage their wellness and many report having moved away from suicide as an option of choice in difficult times.
Is it Confidential?
Confidentiality is something we take very seriously in SOS. The privacy of the participants on the Eden Programme is respected at all times. However, confidentiality may have to be breached in the following circumstances: Where the facilitators perceive an individual to be at risk of harming themselves; Where the facilitators perceive there to be a danger to any other person resulting from any action taken by a member of the group , and/ or where an issue that relates to child protection arises. (all such procedures will be discussed with the individual concerned prior to confidentiality being breached)
Who is entitled to this Service?
Anyone from the age of 18 years upwards who has experienced a suicide attempt or suicidal thoughts can apply. People self-refer to the programme and entry is via a holistic assessment process.
How can you get on the Eden Programme?
You can apply for the programme by making contact with the SOS office or the Programme Coordinator. You do not need to be referred by someone else. You will be asked to complete and return a short application form, and everyone who applies is invited to a holistic interview assessment. The purpose of the interview is for the applicant to find out more about the programme to see if it would suit them, and for the team to find out more about the applicant and see if they think the programme can meet the person’s needs.
Where are the programmes held?
We are currently running Eden Programmes in Dublin, Galway and Mayo.
When does the next programme begin?
We are currently running three Eden Programmes and have no confirmed start date for the next one. Please contact us on 1890 577 577 or 01 272 2158 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be contacted the next time we are running an Eden Programme.
What is the duration?
How many Eden Programmes have taken place
We have run 10 Eden Programmes to date and are currently running our 11th in the Dublin area. We are also piloting a system whereby we licence the programme to other organisations to run with our training and support and have two further programmes ongoing in Galway and Mayo under this pilot.
How much does it cost to run the Eden Programme
Each Eden Programme costs €30,000 to run – that’s a cost of €2,500 per participant and includes programme promotion, recruitment and selection, pre-group work with participants, administration, staffing and management, clinical supervision, evaluation and costs for programme materials and equipment.
Participants are asked to make a weekly financial contribution to the programme. This signals their commitment to their own mental health and to the programme. The amount of the contribution is agreed at the holistic interview with each participant based on their means.
What is the WRAP Programme and what is the duration?
WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) is a structured programme that runs over 2 ½ days. We usually run it one day per week over a 3 week period. It was developed in the United States by Mary Ellen Copeland based on her own recovery journey and research with others who had experienced mental health challenges.
WRAP is a system that helps you monitor and manage your own mental wellness, helps you identify triggers and signs that your wellness is being challenged and to develop plans for what you will do to restore/ manage your wellness when this happens.
On a WRAP programme run by Suicide or Survive participants develop their own personally tailored Wellness Action Plan that they can use on a day-to-day basis to manage your wellness and that you can use if you become unwell to restore it.
WRAP was initially developed by and for people who have experience of significant mental health difficulties however, it can be useful to anyone in planning and managing their own wellbeing. You can find out more about how and why WRAP was developed here.
We are currently delivering a series of WRAP programmes throughout the country in partnership with local organisations which are funded through our wonderful funders the National Office for Suicide Prevention, the Iris O’Brien Foundation and our Fundraisers.
How many people can attend a WRAP programme?
16 people attend each WRAP programme.
What is the minimum age to attend WRAP?
Our community based programmes are open to people over the age of 18 years. However, we are currently piloting the delivery of WRAP to young people in secondary schools.
How much does it cost to run a WRAP Programme?
Each WRAP programme costs SOS €3,000 to run. This cost includes promotion, administration, staffing and management, room hire and refreshments, clinical supervision for facilitators, evaluation and the cost of programme materials and equipment. With up to 16 participants on each workshop this works out at a cost of approximately €187 per person attending. Because we work in partnership our costs are reduced where our partners provide the venue and refreshments for the day. We also receive partial funding for these programmes through our fantastic funders the National Office for Suicide Prevention, the Iris O’Brien Foundation and our own fundraisers.
How much do you charge each person who attends a WRAP Programme?
We try to keep our programmes as affordable as possible so we are currently charging €75 to participants for the 2 ½ day WRAP programme. However, we will always take individual circumstances into consideration and in partnership with the person we can negotiate a fee that is affordable for them.
How do I apply to attend a WRAP Programme?
Contact Jacqui or Lisa on 1890 577 577 or 01 272 2158, or email email@example.com
What is the Wellness Workshop and what is the duration?
Suicide or Survive’s Wellness Workshop is a one day workshop which runs from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm that is designed to provide people with the tools to improve their own mental wellness. It helps participants to understand, take charge of and take responsibility for their own mental health. The Workshop is informal and relaxed and is facilitated by people with both their own lived life experience of mental health difficulties and people with experience of working in the mental health area. It combines personal testimony with practical tools that can be used in everyday life by everyone to improve wellbeing. Areas covered on the day include relaxation and stress management, understanding the relationship between thoughts and emotions, a method for looking at which areas of your life are impacting most on your wellbeing and developing a wellness toolkit and daily wellness plan. The Wellness Workshop has been evaluated by Trinity College Dublin and the findings indicate that attending the workshop has a positive impact on wellbeing even 3 months after the workshop. We recently delivered our 179th workshop and are currently delivering a series of workshops throughout the country in partnership with local organisations which are funded through our wonderful funders the National Office for Suicide Prevention, the Iris O’Brien Foundation and our Fundraisers.
How many people can attend the workshop?
What is the minimum age to attend a workshop?
Attendees need to be over the age of 18. We are currently piloting the delivery of the workshop to younger people.
How do I apply to attend a wellness workshop?
Contact Jacqui or Lisa on 1890 577 577 or 01 272 2158 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How much does it cost to run a Wellness Workshop
We currently make no charge to participants to attend our Wellness Workshops. We do suggest a voluntary contribution from participants on the day, but this is by no means obligatory.
Each Wellness Workshop costs SOS €3,000 to run. This cost includes promotion, administration costs, staffing and management, clinical supervision for facilitators, evaluation and the cost of programme materials and equipment. Each participant also receives a Wellness Workbook to take home that follows the format of the Workshop and contains information and exercises that they can use to manage and maintain their own mental health.
With up to 40 participants on each workshop this works out at a cost of €75 per person attending. Because we work in partnership our costs are reduced as our partners provide the venue and refreshments for the day.
In order to continue to deliver the Workshops countrywide at the level that we are delivering them, and at as accessible a cost as possible, we require continued funding. We encourage workshop participants to consider the above along with the value they place on the Workshop – and on their own wellness – in deciding what financial contribution they think is appropriate and affordable.
To date how many workshops have you held?
What are your thoughts on all organisations in this arena coming together under an umbrella
We are 100% in favour of partnership and working in collaboration with other organisations. It is important to us though that any umbrella organisation would be proactive and would work in a spirit of true collaboration where there was parity of esteem between organisations of different sizes and at different stages in their development.