The Mojo Programme brings together a number of agencies and organisations focused on supporting men, helping participants to reach beyond their past experiences, take charge of their own lives, and create positive futures for themselves and their families.
Male suicide is a complex, entrenched, and prevailing social problem in Ireland. Forced unemployment, societal emasculation, and the lack of collaboration between support services all impact a man’s risk of suicide. Research shows that men are four times more likely than women to die by suicide and in 2013, 396 men died by taking their own lives in Ireland. The impact of suicide is far-reaching, going beyond the individual, often resulting in the lives of family, friends and the wider community being turned upside-down.
The Mojo Programme (Mojo) was set-up as a pilot programme in Tallaght in 2011 to support vulnerable men and tackle preventable suicide. Established as an interagency response to the distress that unemployed men experience, Mojo is the combined result of over 12 statutory and non-statutory agencies in the areas of mental health, education, employment, housing, and welfare co-producing the programme. Mojo is a practical and multidisciplinary 12 week training programme, rooted in evidence. The programme supports men in making life plans, developing coping skills, reflecting on past experiences, redefining masculinity, and fostering peer support to reduce their risk of suicide. Derek McDonnell strongly believes that men are experts on themselves. As a result, he ensures that the men attending Mojo are equal partners in its continued development.
Since the first pilot training programme in 2012, Mojo has worked with 108 men through 9 programmes. Mojo 10 in Tallaght and Mojo 1 in Kildare started in October 2015, and will increase the number of participants to 136. Mojo’s impact has been profoundly positive, with 89% of participants completing the programme and some 70% of participants returning to work, education or volunteering. 4 out of 5 men on the programme also reported a reduction in depression and anxiety, along with significant reductions in isolation, alcohol and drug misuse, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. In addition to these training programmes, Mojo collaborates with organisations including The Irish Men’s Sheds Association and the Samaritans to expand its service offering while helping to ensure the reduction in the duplication of services. Derek plans to continue to expand and develop Mojo, providing the right support to those who need it and evolving how men talk about and understand their mental health.