February 23, 2024

Back of the net! Kilkenny soccer project fighting mental illness gets global recognition

A Kilkenny soccer programme which assists people dealing with mental health issues has won a prestigious global healthcare award.

“Kick-Start to Recovery,” a soccer project co-funded by the HSE/South East Community Healthcare’s mental health services and the FAI in Kilkenny, won the prize at the 2019 Zenith Global Healthcare Professionals Awards Ceremony held recently at the Leonardo Royal City Hotel in London.

The innovative soccer programme picked up the Project Recognition Award, as well as an individual award for Kilkenny Occupational Therapist (OT), Vicki Trehy.

“Kick Start to Recovery” is targeted at men and women in Kilkenny enduring mental health difficulties.  It was introduced two years ago by Vicki and her colleagues in the local Kilkenny Mental Health Service’s OT Department and has the support of the local FAI Development Officer.

“Kick Start to Recovery” began in May 2017 with a six-week programme, which took place at the Watershed. It’s now completed six separate blocks, which last eight weeks each. The next is due to kick-off in January.

David Heffernan (Head of Service for Mental Health, HSE/South East Community Healthcare), Vicki Trehy (Occupational Therapist, Kilkenny Community Mental Health Services) and Kate Killeen White (Chief Officer, HSE/South East Community Healthcare).

The Chief Officer of South East Community Healthcare, Kate Killeen White, congratulated all those involved in the programme and said: “This is a testament to the delivery of the programme in both the commitment from the FAI and the OT Department/Mental Health Services locally.

“Each block to date, has demonstrated the huge benefits the programme has given participants, by engaging in the occupation of football. For example, noted increases in self-esteem and confidence, increased social skills – which in turn has had a significant impact on increased motivation, anxiety and mood levels.

“I am delighted that South East Community Healthcare is involved, well done to Vicki, the coaches and all the participants.”

Zenith Global Health Awards was founded in 2016 to celebrate creativity, innovation and effectiveness in the healthcare industry and is one of the most coveted awards in the world of healthcare. These awards recognise the work of individuals and services from Europe and Asia across 30 categories.



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