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Head-Ed: Interview with Eoin McMahon

Eoin is the founder of Head-Ed a social enterprise that aims to run mental health related educational programs for secondary school students and also for companies in Ireland.

Eoin is member of SEIP's International Networking Club. We have conducted a short interview with him.

Can you please introduce yourself?

My name is Eoin McMahon and I’m a final year physics student at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. I run the mental health social enterprise Head-Ed. It’s based on my personal experience of contracting psychosis over a number of years without knowing it, being unable to find help once it was clear something was wrong, being hospitalised in a psychiatric hospital with it for 6 months, and ultimately recovering to the point I am fully better today.

What is your project about?

The basic idea is to catch mental illness earlier by educating people how to recognise the warning signs of mental health difficulties in themselves, what actions to take once those signs present themselves, and training doctors how to be the primary care point for someone with a mental health difficulty. Initially we will be targeting secondary school students (teenagers) to educate them about the most severe mental illnesses like suicidal ideation and mental breakdown and educating doctors how to treat these most severe cases namely by accessing their local psychiatric facilities. In the long term we want every person to have a basic education about mental health and to create specialised mental health doctors capable of treating all mental health difficulties.

What inspired you to develop your idea

Initially when I had recovered to a reason stage, I had the idea for this social enterprise, it being based primarily on what would have helped me to realise something was wrong and get the adequate help faster. I began by reaching out to a number of mental health professionals to form a solution and then I received support from a number of ministers from the Irish government. However because it was based on what would have helped me, I was always confident that it would be successful and have a high impact.

What is the present situation of your business

We’re currently doing a literature review of mental health interventions/education programs to give what we are doing a basis off which we can develop the programs and apply for funding. Once that is done we will create and trial the programs alongside UCD, another university in Ireland.

Would you like to change anything about your enterprise considering what you know now and when you first started

If I could talk to myself before I started Head-Ed I would tell myself how to get mentorship. Initially reaching out to mental health professionals and the government, I was really looking for someone to mentor me on how to create the programs and form a social enterprise. It was only until I found SEIP that I found this mentorship.

Which way does SEIP contribute to your journey?

SEIP has primarily contributed 2 things. First is to transform my idea into a social enterprise that will be financially sustainable meaning that it won’t be dependent on the good will of others. Second are the biweekly zoom calls with Zsolt and others. It's great to have a forum to talk with other social entrepreneurs but also Zsolt always manages to ask the most pertinent questions and this has benefited me greatly.

More info:

The interview was conducted by Tongwa Emilia Emeanji

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