August 24, 2007

Mental Health

Transition and transformation
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 21 Aug 2007)
Chairperson of Irish College of Psychiatrists, Dr Consilia Walsh, sees transition and transformation as being key to the future of the mental health services

Alarming increase in psychosis due to drugs
Irish Examiner (Wed, 22 Aug 2007)
The clinical director of a mental health service has said the criminalisation of drugs has failed and that "cannabis is being thrown around the country like bales of hay".  Calling for a national debate on use of the drug, Dr Tony Sharkey, head of the Donegal Mental Health Service, revealed that 50% of the people admitted to the unit with their first-time psychotic illness are drug users.  More than 618 people were admitted to Letterkenny's Acute Psychiatric Unit last year. Dr Sharkey said he has seen an alarming increase in the number of young people suffering from psychotic illnesses brought on by drug abuse.

Suicide Prevention

Psychiatrists 'hide' suicidal tendencies
Irish Medical Times (Fri, 17 Aug 2007)
President of the Irish Association of Suicidology and Fine Gael Deputy Health Spokesman, Deputy Dan Neville, has heavily criticised some psychiatrists for “hiding behind doctor-patient confidentiality” and not informing families of members at risk of suicide.  “I am regularly contacted by people with family members who died by suicide shortly after discharge from hospital after a very short stay without relatives being involved or being advised on the suicide risk and how to deal with it,” said the Deputy.

Pieta House gears up for busy autumn
Lucan Gazette (Sun, 19 Aug 2007)
Ireland’s first suicide prevention centre, Pieta House in Lucan, is gearing up for a series of autumn events aimed at highlighting the country's spiralling suicide figures.  Since the start of the year Ireland's suicide rate has increased by 7%, and Sinead Keating, of Pieta House, says raising awareness has never been more vital.  The biggest event Pieta is organising will be a Family Day in St Stephen's Green on August 25, where a whole host of celebrity guest speakers, musicians, and children's entertainers have come on board to help with the campaign.  "Out of all the events this is the highest profile event that we will have," Sinead told the Gazette this week.  "The whole point of the event is awareness, it is non- political.

Suicide rate in State higher than previously calculated (Mon, 20 Aug 2007)
Suicide figures for the Republic are significantly higher than previously calculated, a leading suicide expert has said.  And the first scientific evidence to support the clustering of suicides here has also emerged.  Kevin Malone, professor of psychiatry at University College Dublin (UCD) and St Vincent's University Hospital, will present new research at an international meeting on youth suicide in Dublin next week.  It shows that when internationally accepted reporting norms are applied to death statistics, the number of annual suicides is closer to 600 than the currently accepted figure of about 500.


'Depression underdiagnosed'
Irish Health (Fri, 17 Aug 2007)
A leading Australian psychiatrist has said too many people who are merely sad or unhappy are incorrectly diagnosed with depression. Prof Gordon Parker of the University of New South Wales, said normal emotional problems are sometimes treated as depressive illness because the diagnostic threshold for clinical depression is too low.

Eating Disorders

Diets should be banished from home, says expert
Irish Examiner (Thurs, 23 Aug 2007)
A leading eating disorders expert has urged parents to banish diets from their homes to teach their children how to have a healthy relationship with food.  Psychotherapist Mary O'Connor, who heads up the eating disorder programme at the Rutland Centre, says that once dieting has got into the mentality it can be very difficult to shift. She says rewarding children with junk food or commenting on their weight could also send them on a bad road when it comes to nutrition.

Mental Health Service

New HSE mental health reform post
Irish Medical News (Fri, 17 Aug 2007)
A senior HSE official has been appointed to bring forward the recommendations in the Vision for Change document, dealing with reform of Ireland’s mental health services. Mr Jim Ryan, Local Health Office Manager in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, will take up his post on September 3 this year for a nine-month period. Consultant psychiatrist Dr Siobhan Barry said within psychiatric services there is a general welcome for the appointment and that Mr Ryan is held in very high regards.

Status of doctors in mental health tribunals quizzed
Irish Medical Times (Fri, 17 Aug 2007)
The appointment status of doctors has been challenged by some personnel at mental health tribunals, Irish Medical Times understands. It is understood that the employment status of consultants have been challenged, as well as that of specialist registrars who ‘act up’ as consultant psychiatrists when those specialists are absent from psychiatric institutions.