The benefits of OCN courses to Mental Health

A prisoner in Maghaberry Prison, talks of the benefits of completing OCN Personal Development programmes.

AMH MensSana have been delivering OCN courses in Maghaberry and Hydebank Prison for nearly a year, as part of the Together For You project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund. These courses are on subjects like Understanding StressUnderstanding Feelings and EmotionsUnderstanding Risk and Understanding Motivation.

To date (as at end of January) 252 OCN accredited courses have been completed, 11 prisoners have achieved level 1 and 2 Awards in Personal Wellbeing and 4 prisoners have achieved an overall Certificate in Personal Wellbeing at Level 1 and 2. 

Read a prisoner from Maghaberry's story below about the impact of these courses on his mental health.

"I heard about the OCN courses in Personal Wellbeing from the Mental Health Team in the Donard Centre in the Prison.  At first I was a bit nervous about starting the course – I was concerned about the size of the groups but thought it would be a good to take part to get to learn new information and meet new people. 

Now, I have been doing the course for over a year.  The Equality and Diversity course really stands out for me as it generated great debate and discussion.  I enjoyed the Healthy Lifestyles course as well.  I felt as a father it was useful to gain information around healthy lifestyles that I could pass on to my boys when I get released.

I enjoy the courses because they make me think and help keep my mind off negative things.  It’s a good opportunity to meet new people and develop a good support network within the prison.  I also am grateful for the new information that I get from doing the courses and often think about the topics and what we have discussed after the class, which means a lot to me.

I feel overall my mental health and wellbeing isn’t too bad.  I have a problem with self-harming.  I feel the OCN courses do help look after my mental health as the other prisoners and tutor are a good source of support.

I would very much recommend the courses, they are very enjoyable and you feel better about yourself."

For further information on AMH MensSana's work in the Prisons, please dont hesitate to contact Together For You on 028 9032 9150.

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