Offering people, a safe space and time away from all the competing demands in their lives to explore their mental health, reconnect with themselves and what gives them joy, is not a gift but a necessity, Gerri’s place would make this possible for those who could not otherwise afford it.
Residential workshops and retreats which bring us home to ourselves, give us time and space to recalibrate our mental health and wellbeing.
Sharing in a safe space, with others who have an understanding of what we’ve been through, builds our courage, compassion and connections in the world. Healing happens in relationship.”
Senior Manager, Not-for-Profit Mental Health (2022)
Gerri’s place provides a wonderful sanctuary for people with mental health issues to get the valuable time to reflect on their health and wellbeing and also gives people a welcome rest with great food”. Social Prescriber, Wicklow (2022)
We developed a pilot wellness weekend programme which we launched in March 2022. The wellness weekend was structured to mirror our core service offering process, structure and content. We invited 10 participants, all free of charge to participate in the weekend. This weekend was a huge success with all participants providing excellent feedback and confirming the need for this initiative.
To support the ongoing development of Gerri’s Place as a viable complimentary service for those experiencing life challenges, a research team led by our board member Michael John Norton was formed to undertake an internal evaluation of Gerri’s Place.
A mixed method evaluation, including a pre- and post-test design, was deemed most suitable. Through the use of relevant scales, participants will receive an online survey one week prior to the retreat and then again one month after the study weekend. The aim is to examine whether there are improvements in one’s mental well-being that can be directly correlated to activities undertaken in Gerri’s Place. Additionally, a qualitative element will be utilised to gather the experiences of individuals regarding the retreat.
The evaluation is currently under ethical review, however, it is envisioned that the study will begin in September 2022 and last for approximately six months. Once completed, a report will be written up and submitted to the board of Gerri’s Place. After which, the results will also be used to inform peer-reviewed publications in high-impact academic journals.
“Mental Health Cycle: Central to all of this is empowerment, at both personal and community levels. At a personal level, individuals are empowered to take charge of their health and wellbeing and to access information to make informed decisions when possible.” (Sharing the Vision)
In conjunction with our research, we reviewed the government publication “Sharing the Vision – a Mental Health Policy for Everyone’ for the period 2020-2030” which outlines the need for greater integration between primary care, community, voluntary organisations and the specialist mental health services. This re-confirmed our findings and investment at all levels, both financial and operational, is required for a seamless service, achieving better recovery outcomes.
“Long standing context for ‘nature as healer’ now becoming increasingly evidence based. Research shows that humans place high emotional value on natural places and experiences, for themselves, their families and their psychological as well as physical wellbeing” (WJ Nichols, Blue Mind)
As part of our strategy, we chose to include nature-based therapies into our programmes. We reviewed a series of relevant literature that confirmed and supported the premise that nature-based therapies can and do support and improve people’s mental health and wellbeing.
We accept donations and fundraising commitments from individuals and businesses. The average running cost of each break is €500 per person, but to ensure cost is not a prohibitor for people to access our service, we are charging the reduced rate of €250 for waged and €100 for unwaged.
We accept donations and fundraising commitments from individuals and businesses. To give you an idea of how donations are spent:
Every €500 will fund one wellness weekend break for one person
Every €2,000 will fund one wellness break for four people
Every €5,000 will fund one of our research programmes