Life Skills Online is a completely free educational programme from Aware which is delivered online.
With the help of a series of easy-to-follow modules and support from a trained Aware
volunteer, participants can learn how to manage feelings of stress, worry, anxiety or depression, and learn simple and practical skills to help them cope with life’s challenges.
The programme is comprised of eight modules, each covering a different topic, and the programme can help participants make a real difference in their lives.
Participants complete the modules online, in their own time, over eight consecutive weeks. The programme is self-directed – meaning participants can choose what module to try first and can skip backwards and forwards between modules and activities as they prefer.
Each Life Skills Online participant will also be partnered with a ‘supporter’, a trained Aware volunteer. The supporter provides encouragement and feedback if the participant chooses to share any of their module work with them.
Life Skills Online is proudly supported by the fundraising efforts of Tesco staff and customers nationwide, thanks to the Tesco Charity of the Year Partnership.
A little more about Life Skills Online
Life Skills Online is based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a therapy that focuses on thinking and behaviour and has been shown to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety.
When a person experiences depression or is facing challenging life situations they may think and behave in unhelpful ways. CBT helps the person to make practical changes in these areas, which can help improve how they feel and also reduce some of the symptoms associated with depression, stress or anxiety.
Aware’s Life Skills Online programme has been developed by Dr. John Sharry. Dr. Sharry is a social worker, therapist and trainer with over 20 years’ experience working with individuals, families and organisations. He is a founding director of the Parents Plus Charity and works part-time as Principal Social Worker at the Mater Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, and is also an adjunct senior lecturer at the School of Psychology in UCD.
Dr. Sharry is also the author of numerous books on counselling and mental health and is a regular contributor on the topic to radio and national media.
How do I sign up for the programme?
Online registration for the next phase of our Life Skills Online programme is now open with capacity to support 272 participants in this phase. Places will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Please be advised that this phase of Life Skills Online will be a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT). This is a study (a joint collaboration between Aware, Trinity College Dublin and Silvercloud) to evaluate the impact of the programme on participant mood levels. Please be assured that all your data and contact details will remain private and Aware will use only statistical data collated (not any personal data). This is subject to Aware’s Confidentiality Policy.
By participating in the RCT you will be randomly assigned to an immediate access group (March 24th start) or a delayed access group (June start). If you do not wish to participate in this RCT phase of Life Skills Online, there will be another programme offering in June which is not part of the RCT. The programme content and volunteer support is the same for each phase.
Each participant in Aware’s Life Skills Online programme is supported on a one-to-one basis by our volunteers. This means that there is a limit to the number of people who can take part in the programme at any one time.
There is excellent evidence that CBT works for the treatment of anxiety and mild to moderate depression and many previous participants of our Life Skills Online programme have found it to be hugely beneficial to them.
Read some of the great feedback from people who have already participated in our Life Skills Online programme in 2013.
[SlideDeck2 id=3891 ress=1]
Frequently asked questions
Who is the programme aimed at?
The programme is aimed at individuals who are experiencing mild to moderate depression, stress and/or anxiety and who may prefer the anonymity of an online support programme.
The programme may also be used as a preventative tool for individuals who are susceptible to difficulties with low mood but are not currently experiencing depression.
Do I need an internet connection to do the programme?
As this is a web-based programme, access to a computer and an internet connection is needed to do the programme.
How many modules are there and what do they cover?
There are eight modules – covering a range of different but related topics. Each module is structured in a similar way and consists of the following sections: an introduction explaining the module, content, personal stories, an activity to help you get the most out of the module and reflect on anything new you have learnt, and the review.
What is a ‘supporter’?
Each Life Skills Online participant will be partnered with a ‘supporter’, a trained Aware volunteer. Your assigned supporter will check in to your content once a week, provide feedback and answer any queries you might have about the programme.
Is the information I share with my supporter confidential?
Aware guarantees confidentiality within normal limits.
This means that confidentiality is guaranteed except:
• Where a person has immediate plans to self harm or plans to harm others.
• Where there is information that a child is at risk of, or has in the past been subjected to, harm/abuse/neglect.
Aware’s confidentiality policy is in line with best practice, and ‘Children First:National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children’ (Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 2011).
How long does each module last?
Aware volunteers will support your engagement with the online programme over eight consecutive weeks. You can use this time to focus on one module per week or focus on content from a few different modules that you are interested in.
Do I have to complete all modules?
To get the maximum benefit from the programme we recommend that you stay engaged with your Aware supporter for the assigned eight weeks while progressing through the content. It is not necessary that you complete all eight modules however many people do.
Do I have to complete the modules in any particular order?
As the programme is self-directed, participants can complete the modules in any order that they wish.
What is the purpose of the programme evaluation questionnaires?
Please note that you are required to complete a brief evaluation questionnaire before you begin the programme. We also invite participants to complete follow-on evaluations at week three and six. These questionnaires help us to understand how the programme impacts on participants’ level of mood. All information is treated confidentially (within normal limits) and no personal information is used by Aware when measuring the evaluations. The results help us to ensure our programmes are effective and helpful for users of the service. The questionnaire should take just a couple of minutes of your time.
Is this programme only for individuals of 18 years and over?
Yes, only individuals of 18 and over may take part in Aware’s Life Skills Online programme.
Is this programme right for me?
If the statements below apply to you, then you could benefit from this programme.
- I am currently affected by mild to moderate depression, stress and/or anxiety.
- I would like to make some changes in my life and am prepared to try new ways of dealing with life’s challenges.
- I am not currently experiencing a major life event such as a recent bereavement, major relationship problem or a significant trauma.
- I can commit to engaging with an Aware volunteer supporter over the eight weeks of the programme.
- I have access to a computer and an internet connection.
- I have basic reading skills and am comfortable using a computer.
- I feel I can concentrate and give my attention for the duration of the eight-week programme.