An Occupational Therapist by background Paula currently works in Mental Health Service Reform as a Project Lead in the South East Region. In both therapeutic work and service reform work she has championed the arts in all forms its capacity to leverage transformation for individuals, organisations and the wider community. She believes in the capacity of all art forms to cross the boundaries of health, education and wider community sectors.
She is the driving force behind the formation of the Discover Recover Theatre Project. A live drama performance based mental health education programme, which brought the real-life narratives of individuals from County Wexford with the lived experience of mental health difficulties to secondary school audiences. The play “A Face in the Crowd” written by playwright Niall O’Muiri has gone on to be performed for public audiences also in Wexford Arts Centre, The Presentation Centre Enniscorthy, as part of First Fortnight 2019 -Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin and Royal College of Surgeons Dublin February 2020. Recently this project has demonstrated positive outcomes with respect to an independent study of its social impact, reflecting the efficacy of the medium of drama as a means of mental health education.
Within her role as a Director of the Wexford Mental Health Association Paula also programme manages the role of the Music Exploration Officer as partnership project within the HSE Wexford Mental Health Services and the Wexford County Council Arts Ability Programme.
Currently Paula is undertaking a narrative based project within mental health community residence led by professional storyteller, Joe Brennan in conjunction with WIT. “ Do we have the “right” story?” is examining through the medium of narrative and live story telling the perspectives of both staff and service users of the mental health services on the capacity of community residence facilitates to support a human rights and recovery based approach to service delivery.
Within 2020 Paula is planning to launch a new project in through the Wexford Mental Health Association conjunction with the Wexford County Council Arts Office, HSE Health and Well-Being, CYPSC, Sports Active Wexford. It will be a primary school focused project aiming to collectively create a “Guide to Spaces and Places that are Good for Well-Being in Wexford “from the perspective of the children of the county.