Case Study - Hope 4 Life

Hope 4 Life NI is a mental health organisation based in Northern Ireland works to the ethos that that everyone has a right to good mental health and is committed to working for this right to become a reality for all.

We recently talked with Dee Nixon, Chief Executive at Hope 4 Life NI, about the role and work of the organisation.

Hope 4 Life NI believes everyone has a right to good mental health as stated by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner Human Rights. With a particular emphasis on prevention, and early intervention, we are committed to working for this right to become a reality for all. The UN acknowledges that globally only 7% of public funding is directed at mental health, with even less being directed towards early intervention and this figure is even lower in Northern Ireland. We believe that prevention is always better than cure and as our current mental health provision is already overwhelmed, we need to ensure that our young people are provided with the education on what mental ill health is, what are the signs and indicators for this and what services are available through our programmes to teach them the tools and techniques to better manage life’s challenges to help them navigate and overcome mental, social and emotional challenges prior to any need for crisis interventions.

With three fulltime and one Part time employees; and further supported by eight freelancers, four volunteers, a Youth committee and a Board of Trustees, Hope 4 Life focus on early intervention by providing a range of difference courses. Beneficiaries of these services include children and young people throughout NI, parents in deprived areas, management teams in Private, Public and Third Sectors, Colleges, Emergency Services, Churches, Community Groups, youth within Interface Areas.

In line with our values all our programmes are via team-delivery, with our programmes being strengths based, person centred and designed to positively engage, educate and support our beneficiaries. Through our delivery of our WRAP® programme, we work predominantly with staff and volunteers in most settings, which also included a six-month aftercare programme for delegates. This enabled ongoing discussions around the practical application of the training so that our beneficiaries can raise any concerns. As well as WRAP and Bespoke courses, we also deliver programmes covering a Wellness Recovery Action Plan, Mental Health First Aid and UberHeroes. We have delivered our Uberheroes programme to over 22,000 children and young people over the last three years in schools and youth groups throughout NI. Our WRAP, MHFA & Bespoke services have been delivered to 322 Adults.

Our Uberheroes programme was designed by young people for young people. It was developed following an initial design process involving an Uberheroes committee made up of 50% were young people and 50% of our team. Following on from this stage, we also conducted focus groups to discuss ideas on issues like delivery method, ideas, their level of involvement in the programme and accessibility.

The Uberheroes programme has been instrumental in disrupting self-harm and suicide pacts amongst young people, including young people revealing to us that they were part of similar pacts which in turn enabled us to intervene appropriately.

Each programme that we deliver is accompanied by general health, baseline and post programme surveys. Through these we have been able to identify in primary school children, dips in confidence, self-worth, emotional wellbeing and increased sleeplessness and anxiety levels, at key times around the transition process. This has directly informed the creation of a new programme “Uberheroes – My Origin Story” which will journey with pupils through transition from P6 to P7 and onto Year 8 providing emotional, mental and practical support through this key time.

The baseline and post surveys indicated levels of learning from the programme, including:

90% understood better how to help a peer who was self-harming

93% know better how to look after their mental health

97% understood better the problems caused by isolating themselves

94% understands better where to find help for someone suffering from discrimination.

97% have a better idea how to find help for someone they know who has been abused.

You can find out more at Hope4Life | Helping you to help yourself at or watch the Uberheroes Video.

Share your COVID-19 support service

Organisations providing support to people and communities can share their service information here

> Share your support

Not a NICVA member yet?

Save time, money and energy. Join NICVA and you’ll be connecting in to a strong network of local organisations focused on voluntary and community activity.

Join Us

NICVA now welcomes all small groups for free.

Read more on...