Mojo Men (MM) is being established as a company limited by guarantee to manage the upscaling of Mojo training programmes. Our aim is to develop a strong support structure on which to build and then connect Mojo projects as they develop across Ireland. It was initially envisaged that Mojo would align itself to an established organisation, however after extensive research and discussions with key stakeholders, the idea of alignment is being put on hold. The decision is based the fact that the most appropriate organisations with which to partner are not in a position to do so at this time. One of MM's key strategic objectives, over the next five years, is to align ourselves with the Irish Men's Shed's Association and, the Irish Men's Health Forum; representatives from both organisations will be on MM's Board of Management.
Background to Mojo: Mojo is a collective of statutory and voluntary organisations working in partnership to provide a response to unemployed men who are in distress; the premise is that forced unemployment increases a man’s risk to suicide. The service developed by the collective has emerged as an evidenced based, multidisciplinary, training programme for 'at risk' men. To date, 113 men have benefited from Mojo in South Dublin and a new Mojo has been established in Kildare town; both services are guided by an interagency advisory group1. The training programmes are run by core staff who are supported by facilitators from a range of local and national agencies. Set up in 2011, with funding from the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP), Mojo was piloted by South Dublin County Partnership.
The training programme: The 12 week training programme takes place over two mornings per week; it is an eclectic and dynamic model that combines a unique mix of mental health, adult guidance, physical fitness and social networking methodologies. The mixed methodologies afford men the opportunity to build their mental and physical fitness while developing their ability to engage with local services, set goals and develop a life plan. Importantly, the men make connections and form social bonds. Mojo helps men to reach beyond their past experiences, take charge and create positive futures for themselves and their families.
The evidence: Mojo commissioned two external evaluations on the pilot, highlights include an 81% of men reporting a reduction in depression and anxiety along with significant reductions in isolation, alcohol and drug misuse, self-harm and suicidal ideation. An 89% retention rate and a 70% progression rate back to work, volunteering or on to another service. Mojo Kildare is undergoing an external evaluation, once completed the findings will be compared with Mojo South Dublin.Mojo participants with the support of the programme organisers have established a Mojo Men's Shed. The Shed provides a space for men across South Dublin to connect to each other while engaging in a range of resilience and skills building activities. In conjunction with the Samaritans, we are piloting a Mojo Listen's Programme; the idea is that men in the Shed are trained and supported to provide a peer listening service to other men. The pilot is currently being evaluated.
Mojo Ireland Structure: MM is overseen by a BOM comprised of an eclectic mix of professionals representing mental health, community, primary care, psychology, and legal. Over the coming months the Board will be further strengthened to include finance, public relations, business development, human resource, men's health and Mojo men. MM will be managed by an Executive Director (Derek McDonnell) supported by a Network Development Manager and an Officer Manager - all part time. The total estimated cost to run MM on an annual basis is circa €190,000.
Each local project costs circa €65,000 (50% local funding and 50% funded by the NOSP).
Mojo takes referrals from services that are the responsibility of the Departments of: Justice; Environment, Community and Local Government; Social Protection; Health and supports referrals to the Department of Education and Skills. While not a SICAP initiative, Mojo is aimed at organisations similar to SICAP implementers - it was piloted by South Dublin LDC and is being run by Kildare LDC.