There were two joint winners of the HMI Inaugural Leaders Award – Chatterbox and Cork Beats Stress.
Elizabeth Downey and Carmel Feely
HSE, Cavan Monaghan
Chatterbox is a speech and language service which is provided by Elizabeth and Carmel in Cavan/Monaghan in addition to their other primary care duties. It is aimed at children from 0 to 6. Speech and language challenges can have multiple life long implications for those with such difficulties. This project was designed to better meet the needs of services users, and to optimise the service, by bringing the service into the community.
With inspirational enthusiasm, Elizabeth and Carmel have overcome many challenges and built up relations of trust between themselves, the community they serve and other colleagues. From initial small steps, the project has continued to flourish. They offer an ever growing range of services to parents, childcare workers, playgroups and anti natal groups. Most recently they have started to offer assistance to childcare workers who work with children where English is not their first language.
Cork Beats Stress
Department of Psychology, HSE, Cork
Jennifer and her colleagues adapted an innovative approach to the delivery of mental health services within the community in Cork. In collaboration with 2 local GAA clubs, she and the team were committed to teaching effective skills to reduce anxiety and depression en masse and to reach out to males in particular. With scant resources, no road map, this innovative project dared to be different, by being knitted into the fabric of the community. This pilot project aimed to educate and empower the community as to how to handle stress and manage depression. More importantly, it aimed to break down the stigma associated with mental health issues. It enjoyed phenomenal success with more than 300 people undertaking the course, one day a week for six weeks, in the two centres.