Music and Mental Health - Step up Ability Project

   06 Aug 2020

Individual Supports

Step Up (Ability) Project, supports 15 to 29-year-olds in County Offaly. We assist them to cut through the barriers presented by ongoing mental health issues and/or mild learning difficulties. For many of our participants, it is simply allowing them time in a safe space to explore what it is they want, to improve personally or academically. In Step Up, they regularly attend 1:1 appointments with the Support Worker. Participants start to unravel their preferences, looking towards their future and how they can achieve outcomes going forward. These can range from skills to deal with their current debilitating Anxiety, to picking a viable career route. We aim to guide them, getting them to ask “Who am I?” rather than “What am I?” We help them to break down the barriers to their progression and support them through these various stages.

Currently, we have participants that are moving into their second year in training and education in Tullamore Community Training Centre and Adult Education in Laois Offaly Education and Training Board and National Learning Network. Some will be applying for third level programmes in 2021. Applications are being processed and online interviews are taking place for some to enter full and part-time programmes. We will have our study hub available and supports for blended learning in place to suit participant requirements.

This year we are also adding a creative music option. If you are writing, singing, playing, recording or looking to advance with your music, the Step Up Project just might suit you or someone you know. It will be delivered by Ciana Mc Garrigle.

" My name is Ciana McGarrigle and I am Clinical Music Therapist. I received my Masters' qualification in 2018 from the University of Limerick. I work with people across various age groups in both groups and on an individual basis. The areas that I work in include the following; brain injury, speech development, motor function, intellectual disability, emotional support and development and mental health. My work aims to use music in a way that provides the opportunity to aid people in their rehabilitation, their ability to understand and communicate their emotions effectively and to develop their confidence and abilities to socialise with others efficiently. I use all types of music in my work and only require that those I work with enjoy and appreciate music. Some of the activities I use in my sessions are as follows; song writing, lyric discussion, instrument play and song and music creation".

Here are some of our participants experiences: 

“Step Up was a necessary, worthwhile stepping stone that I needed to mature, grow and build resilience for further education and working life interactions, all while improving my routine and meeting several amazing people in the process”


“One of the best things I’ve ever done, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of Step Up…They support you and guide you through the process of the next stage of life”

“They go above and beyond to help you to be the person you are, and the person you can be”

“Step Up has improved my confidence and showed me how to communicate with other people”


For more information, please contact me using the following:

086 0830821

You can contact

Martina Mc Loughlin on 087 7002521

Margaret Charles 087 347 6949