April 20, 2007

Mental Health Service

Child mental health service crisis
Irish Health (Fri, 13 Apr 2007)
The Celtic Tiger has betrayed children and adolescents with mental health problems, according to a leading child psychiatrist.
Prof Michael Fitzgerald of Trinity College Dublin told the IMO AGM that there were major gaps in child and adolescent treatment services.
"We have no existing adolescent teams for the 14 to 18-year old age group. We have only 20 beds for those aged less than 16 and we need 150 beds."

‘Huge shortage of cognitive therapists in Ireland’
Irish Medical News (Tue, 17 Apr 2007)
Two out of four people are not getting help with their depression and their depression is not being recognised, according to Co Louth GP, Dr Harry Barry. Speaking to IMN on the launch of his book Flagging the Problem A New Approach to Mental Health, Dr Barry has called for an increase in cognitive therapists, saying there is currently a “huge shortage” in Ireland. He said it is unfair of the media to criticise GPs and say GPs should be providing therapies to patients, but there may only be one therapist for an area and referrals will come from the psychiatrist.

Doctors and patients back longer consultation
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 17 Apr 2007)
Both the health professionals and patients from an economically deprived community in Dublin preferred a new lengthened multi-disciplinary team consultation compared to the conventional method, new research has found, even though the normal method may result in better outcomes. According to researchers in the Division of Population Health Services in the Department of Family Medicine and General Practice at the RCSI, a pilot lengthened multi-disciplinary team consultation received positive feedback from the professionals and patients who found that there were mutual benefits in terms of relationship building and access to services.

Money is 'leeched out' to other areas
Irish Medical Times (Wed, 18 Apr 2007)
Voluntary patients in psychiatric hospitals are suffering because of the time spent on involuntary admissions, according to Dr Siobhan Barry.
A number of motions proposed by Dr Barry, a consultant psychiatrist in Dublin, were carried, including one requesting the Minister for Health to explain the decrease in funding for mental health services in 2007. The AGM also criticised the Minister for the reduction in mental health services for voluntary users.

Advertisements for 68 consultants 'evidence of HSE mismanagement'
Irish Examiner, (Thurs, 19 Apr 2007)
Advertisements for 68 consultant posts being placed in newspapers and medical journals this week are further proof of mismanagement by the Health Service Executive's (HSE), the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) claimed yesterday. IHCA secretary general Finbarr Fitzpatrick said that almost 40% of advertised positions are in psychiatry, most of which had been promised since January 2006. The psychiatric posts were, created to allow part two of the Mental Health Act last November. "Now, after 16 months of paralysis and prevarication, the minister tells us that these posts are urgently needed. Political expediency must not be confused with medical necessity," said Mr Fitzpatrick.


Mental Health

Looking to books for help
Irish Times Subscription (Mon, 16 Apr 2007) Dr Tom Foster is a consultant psychiatrist at Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital, writes about Cognitive behaviour therapy based bibliotherapy.


Suicide Prevention

Study links suicide to gun ownership in US
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 17 Apr 2007)
Nearly twice as many people die by suicide in the 15 US states with the highest rates of gun ownership than in the six states with the lowest rates of gun ownership, although the population of the two groups is about the same, researchers said last week.
The difference testifies to the risk guns pose to gun owners, said researchers led by Matthew Miller at the Harvard School of Public Health. More than 30,000 people committed suicide in 2004, Mr Miller and his colleagues noted in a study published in the Journal of Trauma; guns were used in more than half of those cases.

Target for 20% reduction in suicide rates required
Medicine Weekly, (Wed, 18 Apr 2007)
The IMO is to put pressure on the Taoiseach to orchestrate an inter-departmental approach to funding initiatives to address the rate of suicide. According to Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Siobhan Barry, the Government needed to make a concerted, united effort to reduce the incidence. Statistics revealed that 399 deaths occurred as a result of road traffic accidents (RTAs) in 2005. In comparison, 431 deaths occurred as a result of suicide in the same year, Dr Barry stated. However, the Government dedicated almost €30 million to address RTA deaths in 2005 compared to just €500,000 for suicide prevention initiatives. "This clearly requires a statement from the Taoiseach. To ask anyone else is undervaluing the issue of suicide in our society," she said. 

Responsible coverage of suicide by media urged
Irish Times Subscription (Thu, 19 Apr 2007)
A new media-monitoring programme aimed at promoting responsible and accurate coverage of mental health and suicide was launched yesterday. Headline, which has been established by the Health Service Executive (HSE), is a website which contains information on mental health and suicide, along with reporting guidelines agreed by the National Union of Journalists and health authorities. It also plans to highlight examples of positive and negative coverage of suicide in the media, while the public will be able to comment on media coverage of issues relating to mental health.



'Depression in cardiac patients not simply a measure of severity'
Irish Medical News, (Tues, 17 Apr 2007)
Depression experienced by cardiac patients is as a result of genuine depressive symptoms and vulnerabilities, not simply a measure of disease severity, according to a study carried out at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Speaking at the Psychology, Health, and Medicine Conference at NUI Maynooth last week, Mr Frank Doyle, a psychologist in the Division of Population Health Sciences at RCSI, said that while the prevalence of depression in the general population is between five and 10 per cent in cardiac patients this rises to 20 per cent.

Diagnosing anxiety in children
Irish Medical News, (Tues, 17 Apr 2007)
Anxiety disorders are one of the primary mental health problems affecting children and adolescents today. Anxiety in children is something that is often misdiagnosed or simply ignored. However, combating anxiety in children using cognitive therapy can lead to a lower incidence of mental illness and social problems at a later stage, it was emphasised during a seminar on cognitive-behavioural therapy held recently at St John of God Hospital, Co Dublin.