“Mind Yourself” is a mental health promotion and suicide prevention programme which originated in the counties of Cavan and Monaghan in Ireland. The programme focuses on building strengths such as resilience and optimism, it focuses on the development of coping and problem-solving skills through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and provides information to young people on relevant issues and available services. The programme is intended for use in a range of environments, from schools to early-school leavers’ programmes to high support residential units.
Our aim in developing the programme was to focus on published scientific research in this area and to ensure the involvement of young people’s perspectives in developing a programme that aims to work with them. In Ireland such an approach has been endorsed at a national level by “Reach Out: National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention” (2005). The strategy document outlines four considerations to preventing suicide: a targeted approach, responding to suicide, information and research and the general population approach.
The preliminary results of the pilot study appear to suggest that the ‘Mind Yourself’ programme can contribute to adolescent suicide prevention by helping lower depressive symptoms and enhancing emotional intelligence and strengths. The feedback from the participants regarding the programme was also promising and indicated that over 91% enjoyed the programme, over 83% found it useful and over 51% felt that they could cope better after completing the programme.