This free full-time course could help you overcome a mental health setback


Brought to you by the National Learning Network.

Covid-19; it’s been… challenging.

No matter how you’re coping, lockdown measures have had a profound impact on everyone’s mental health and overall psychological wellbeing.

Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress due to isolation, separation from family and friends, coupled with uncertainty, job losses, relationship and financial pressures and other pandemic strains have left many people finding life difficult to cope with.

However, mental health issues are normal and healing is a process.

For people who are struggling to get back on track after a mental health setback, the National Learning Network (NLN), Cork City Centre has announced a new, flexible, person-centred programme designed to help participants to build confidence, develop an action plan and achieve their goals.

‘Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation.’

“Communities that have survived virus outbreaks in the past have faced similar issues,” says Yvonne Gaule, NLN’s Rehabilitative Training Instructor.

“What these experiences prove is that it is not enough to fight the physical effects of a virus outbreak, the mental health and psychological effects also require specialised care and attention.”

Supported by the HSE, among the Focus Programme staff are trained psychotherapists, psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses and art therapists, all dedicated to supporting and improving mental health outcomes for adults throughout Cork City and County.

“The Focus team’s continued support and guidance have been indispensable, particularly during the lockdown, where they kept in touch frequently by phone, email, or video calls.” shares a past student.

“This was vital as it permitted me to maintain social connections and keep occupied with coursework.”

Achieve your goals with help from the experts

“As a student of our Focus Programme, you will be guided and supported to achieve your goals,” explains Ms Gaule.

“You will be allocated a Key Worker, who will assist you in identifying your future hopes and dreams. Whether social, employment, education or training related we will always endeavour to go that extra mile to ensure that you reach your full potential.”

The modules on the Focus Programme include Assertiveness, Stress Management, Healthy Lifestyles, Job Seeking Skills and Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP), an evidence-based programme aimed at improving and sustaining mental health.

Guest speakers drop in regularly to offer advice and insight and there is a significant emphasis on the outdoors, getting out and about, exploring the coast with day trips and forest walks.

How to apply

Focus is a free, full time, one year programme and students retain any social welfare payments that they currently have.

Would you or somebody you know like more information? To apply or find out more, contact the course instructors on 087 667 4282.

The National Learning Network also runs the programme in a number of other locations throughout Cork, including Midleton, Carrigaline, Clonakilty and a sister programme in Mallow. For information on all National Learning Network free courses for people who face challenges in their lives, check out


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