Mindspace Mayo, which offers mental health and well-being support services to young people in the county aged from 15 to 25, celebrated five years in existence last week and is looking forward to what the next five years will bring.
Mindspace, which is based in Castlebar, assists young people from all across Mayo to meet the demands of modern life. They have had 2,500 people referred to use their services over the last five years. Their primary aim is to ensure that young people ‘get the support they need when they need it’.
Mindspace’s support services cater for young people who are struggling to deal with common concerns like relationships, exam stress, their sexuality or bullying, as well as those with emerging mental health difficulties such as mild depression and anxiety.
Peadar Gardiner, Project Manager at Mindspace, said the service has been able to provide these much-needed supports over the last five years thanks to the help of a number of key stakeholders. He said: "We are celebrating this milestone thanks to the input across the years from our youth panel, staff, management teams, community and statutory partners. We look forward to continuing and expanding these relationships in the future, and can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring.
"Seventy-five per cent of mental health problems emerge before the age of 25. Our role has been to ensure young people know how and where to access support, while educating the community on how to spot emerging mental health concerns and how to take the next steps.”
Since Mindspace Mayo opened its doors in 2015, young people have played an active role in designing, developing and evaluating the programs it offers. The environment in which they deliver services plays a crucial role in defining how they value and respect young people and the Mindspace building sets a positive welcoming environment for any young person to attend.
The Mindspace ‘youth panel’ acts as a representative voice for young people throughout Mayo and assists with the decision-making processes within the service. Mindspace Mayo make it as easy as possible for young people to access support, offering multiple access points into the service, including e-mail, text, phone, drop-in and referral.
The service is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals. Along with the hub in Castlebar, they operate two outreach services in Erris and Ballina each week supporting young people in these areas in a setting designed to feel safe and comfortable for them.
“Seeking help for any concerns troubling a young person takes a lot of courage, and Mindspace has made it easier for young people to get the support they need,” said Charlie Meehan, HSE Head of Service for Mental Health.
“Early intervention youth mental health programmes have the potential to minimise the impact of mental health problems on young people, their families, and wider society,” explained Peadar Gardiner.
"Our outcome measures show us that young people who attend Mindspace report significantly reduced levels of psychological distress at the end of their Mindspace sessions. Over 90 per cent of young people who completed our Mindspace satisfaction survey told us that they received the support they needed from Mindspace, and 95% of them also said when asked that they would recommend Mindspace to a friend."
Stephanie, a former client of Mindspace Mayo, said that her life has improved in a way that she never thought would be possible thanks to the support she received, saying: "I am forever grateful to them for the difference they have made in my life.”