HSE Media Statement on “The Gaming Group”
A Co. Wexford based project has won a national award for its innovative method of facilitating positive social engagement amongst young adults with mental health issues.
Operating from its social hub at the Wexford Mental Health Association’s centre in Castle St., Enniscorthy, “The Gaming Group” project has been named as the winner of the “Supporting a Healthy Community” category in the 2020 Health Service Excellence Awards.
Aimed at males over 18 years of age, “The Gaming Group” is a unique programme and was devised in a partnership model over the last two years by Occupational Therapists and the Link Training Manager of the HSE/South East Community Healthcare’s mental health services, the Wexford Mental Health Association and – significantly – users of the services themselves.
The “The Gaming Group” supports participants to socialise, build confidence and develop life skills which have enabled many to move on to other groups, training and employment. Weekly group activities are organised in response to mutual group interests such as playing the PlayStation together or going on community outings – ranging from surfing, kayaking, soccer, yoga, bowling, pitch and putt to road trips to Tayto Park and other social activities.
The Gaming Group is open to participants from throughout Co. Wexford and are referred by Occupational Therapists in the mental health services. In addition to events at its hub in Enniscorthy (in relation to which, support towards attendance may be provided), activities also take place in Gorey, New Ross and Wexford Town.
The Health Service Excellence Awards – which shortlists and identify winners across eight categories – are an annual opportunity to showcase and celebrate good work, to share success stories and promote shared learning for other teams in the HSE.
Reacting to the good news and congratulating all those involved in the project, David Heffernan (Head of Service/Mental Health, South East Community Healthcare) said:
“Every day of the week, we have excellent community healthcare staff who in addition to the delivery of customary services and care supports are devising other means of making a real and lasting difference to our health and social services. The Gaming Group in Co. Wexford is an outstanding example of this.”
“This award is great news for everyone associated with the project, especially as the last four months of Covid-19 restrictions has thrown up a very big challenge in literally keeping the show on the road by digital and other means.”
Mr. Bob Bent (Operations Manager, Wexford Mental Health Services) said:
“I know of the enormous value to individuals and families of this project, in reaching out and encouraging people to combat the isolation felt in their lives. We are very proud of our mental health staff, our friends in the Wexford Mental Health Association with whom we work very closely and of course the individual service users, their friends and family for making this project work at all times. This award is a boost at this time and I look forward to it being a harbinger to further achievement for those lives are enriched by such an inclusive project.”
With the 2020 presentation ceremony in Dublin not taking place this year due to the Covid-19 restrictions, their award was delivered to the Wexford Mental Health Association’s centre in Castle St., Enniscorthy. Speaking upon its arrival, Ciaradh Walsh (Senior Occupational Therapist with Wexford Mental Health Services/Co-ordinator of the Gaming Group project) said:
“Along with colleague Wexford Mental Health Service Occupational Therapists Sarah, Roisin, Mairead and Maria, with Aislinn in the LINK training centre in Enniscorthy, the team in the Wexford Mental Health Association and the many service users we have worked and collaborated with at every stage in the co-production and development of this fantastic project, we are honoured to receive recognition for the important role of lived experience, peer support and co-production in supporting a healthy community.”
“Many thanks to the inspiring young males who made this initiative happen. The Gaming Group has gone from strength to strength over the past two years, evolving and adapting in response to identified needs, interests and of course the recently imposed restrictions. Our service users were delighted to be recognised for their innovative and meaningful approach. The award takes pride of place in the group’s social hub in Enniscorthy.”