Health and well-being

Discover/Recover Theatre Project

Discover/Recover is a preventative mental health project aimed at school children. This evaluation found it to be effective in improving mental health literacy and help-seeking behaviour, and reducing stigma.

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Young people are at their most vulnerable during periods of transition, and it is perhaps unsurprising that a majority of mental health problems begin to manifest during teenage years. There is much support in the literature for interventions that are protective of young people’s mental health at this time. This is all the more pressing given the high rates of mental illness amongst young people in Ireland, especially young women and girls who, according to recent research, have the highest rate in the EU. 

This evaluation found evidence of improvement in the knowledge and awareness of mental health issues amongst the sample, including the signs and symptoms of mental illness, steps to take in response to them and where to seek help. In the follow-up evaluation. At follow-up, strong majorities agreed that they were less likely to be stigmatising, make offensive jokes and more likely to see people with severe and enduring mental illness as people of worth (63%, 75% and 83% respectively). For each potential source of help, we observe an improvement, including a statistically significant decrease in the proportion stating that they would not seek help from anyone. There were also statistically significant increases in the proportion that said they would be prepared to contact a professional, and a helpline for support. 

The play was highly endorsed by the young people and 92% supported its staging in other locations. Young people valued its contribution to their own knowledge and skills, especially their ability to recognise and respond to the signs and symptoms of mental illness. 80% said they were more likely to support policies that encourage spending on mental health support, suggesting that the play has the potential to build public support for better services.

Related projects

Priscilla Du Preez 972638 Unsplash
Evaluability Assessment of the Recovery Approach in Mental Health

The concept of recovery has come to underpin mental health policy in many Anglophone countries. It represents a shift from services based on clinical recovery defined by symptom reduction to recovery as defined by the service user’s view of what is needed to lead a meaningful life. Just Economics was commissioned by HSE to carry out an Evaluability Assessment of the National Framework for Recovery in Mental Health in Ireland. 

Breaking Point: An analysis of the impact of budget cuts on children's services in Ireland

In March 2019, Barnardos commissioned Just Economics to undertake research on the impact of the current funding environment on their services. This report formed the basis of Barnardos 2020 budget submission. It describes how a constrained funding environment is rapidly becoming unsustainable for organisations working with children and families. It sets out the costs to society of historic underinvestment and the impact this had on societal outcomes such as health, crime, well-being. An index of these outcomes shows how Ireland is second from the bottom in a sample of European economies.  The report sets out a series of recommendations to strengthen Barnardos sustainablity and, in turn, their ability to meet needs within their communities. 

Focus areas

Our client base ranges from local charities to public sector bodies and global corporates. We apply our expertise to key focus areas that our team are passionate about.

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