May 25, 2007


 Mental Health

Juveniles not getting psychiatric help, says report
Irish Times Subscription (Sat, 19 May 2007)

The vast majority of young offenders are in critical need of psychiatric help and are failing to get it, a major new report finds. The report, presented at a conference in Dublin, says the State's failure to provide intensive psychiatric help to children when in detention is a lost golden opportunity. The first of its kind in the world looking at levels of emotional intelligence among young people in detention, Emotional Intelligence, Mental Health and Juvenile Delinquency studied 30 boys in four detention centres over a period of three years.


Measures needed to improve GP service to teenagers
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 22 May 2007)

The results of new Irish research suggest that GPs need to introduce specific measures to address their teenage patients. A study of teenage students in West Cork has revealed that many do not discuss their real health concerns with their GP and the vast majority would favour the introduction of teenage-specific clinics.


22 people vote at mental hospital
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 22 May 2007)

Among the first people to cast their vote in the election were 22 patients at the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin. A total of 22 out of 29 eligible voters at the hospital cast their votes at a special ballot held last Friday. It is the first time patients at the facility have been allowed to vote following a European Court of Human Rights ruling in 2005. The patients were registered to vote in Dublin South constituency. The remainder of the 83 patients were either foreign nationals or were not registered in the constituency.


'Play deprivation' could increase children's risk of mental illness
Irish Times Subscription (Wed, 23 May 2007)

Children who suffer from "play deprivation" could be at a higher risk of suicide, mental illness and anti-social behaviour, as well as being more likely to develop obesity, a conference on children's play has heard. Outdoor play for children has become restricted not only because of parents' natural fears about danger from strangers and increased traffic, but due to sanitised and unchallenging playground design, said Steve Goode of the National Play Resource Centre.


Fall in use of drugs
Irish Independent (Sat, 19 May 2007)

The number of people prescribed antidepressant drugs here has fallen, lessening concerns that the drugs are being used as a first-stop remedy. Figures from the Health Service Executive show that the cost of antidepressants under the medical card scheme jumped from €37m in 2004 to €41.6m in 2005. But the number of patients being prescribed antidepressants, including Seroxat, fell from 192,085 to 176,123 over the same period.


Magnets may beat memory decline
Irish Independent (Thurs, 24 May 2007)

Magnets may beat memory decline magnetic stimulation of the brain could improve memory, according to new research. Experiments on mice have suggested that coils generating magnetic fields can strengthen brain circuits in ways that enhance learning and the animals' ability to remember. The findings, by the American Academy of Neurology in Boston, suggest that the technique, known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), could open new ways of treating memory decline in people. Further animal experiments are still needed before it can be cleared to start human trials.



Suicide Prevention

New study into suicide
Southside People (Wed, 23 May 2007)

A research team from UCD is investigating the possibility that Ireland is prone to suicide clusters. Led by Kevin Malone, professor of psychiatry, the team is conducting the first national suicide in Ireland survey. Professor Malone explained that through interviews with bereaved families, friends and clinicians they hope to understand more than just the statistics about the lives lost. "This survey is a collaborative discourse between the worlds of science and humanities, and it is the first of its kind internationally," he said.


Listen — lend us your ears to prevent suicide
The Irish Examiner Archive (Tue, 22 May 2007).

A young Finglas man is involved in a campaign to highlight support for those coping with depression. “It’s about stopping people trying to kill themselves,” he said yesterday. The 18-year-old was speaking at the launch of a suicide awareness week in the Dublin West suburb of Finglas, where 20 suicides were recorded between 2005 and April 2007, many of young men.



Mental Health Service


ICPsych hits out over poor facilities
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 22 May 2007)

Patients with intellectual disability and mental health problems are being treated in substandard facilities, according to the Irish College of Psychiatrists (ICPsych). Calling on the HSE to prioritize the development of mental health services for people with intellectual disability, Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Philip Dodd said that patients were being treated in inappropriate facilities without access to multidisciplinary teams.


State spending on mental health halved
Sunday Business Post (Sun, 20 May 2007)

Government spending on mental health services is almost half of what it was in the early 1980s, and lags behind most of our European Union counterparts, according to a draft report on mental health, which will be published later this summer. The report, by the government think tank, the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF), said government spending on mental health should increase by 10 per cent a year, and most of this should be spent on community-based care and activities that promote mental health awareness.


Relocation of CMH to North County Dublin is a backward step
Irish Medical Times, (Fri, 18 May 2007)

Relocating the Central Mental Hospital to the site of a proposed new prison in north Dublin would a step backwards from an enlightened Victorian policy, an expert in the field has suggested. Dr Pauline Prior, of the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the Queen's University of Belfast, said it would be "a retrograde step". She said that "the people who built Dundrum in the first place seemed to be more enlightened" than their contemporaries in the 1850s and 1860s.


Health Service


‘More HSE funds needed for minorities’
Irish Medical News (Fri, 18 May 2007)

The ICGP has called on the HSE to make more resources available for minority groups. In a motion proposed by the Merrion Faculty, the College condemned the lack of support for GPs caring for disadvantaged groups including asylum seekers. Dr Niall O’Cleirigh said there is a small group of
doctors providing services for asylum seekers and the College should keep this on the agenda.


Strike ends as nurses vote to accept settlement
Irish Times Subscription (Wed, 23 May 2007)

The 7 1/2-week-old nurses' dispute is effectively over following a decision by members of the Irish Nurses' Organisation (INO) to vote, albeit it by a relatively narrow margin, in favour of settlement proposals. The outcome of the ballot of INO members was 54 per cent in favour and 46 per cent against the proposals, which will see the working week for nurses cut to 37 1/2  hours by June next year.


Doctors to seek reduction in working week
Irish Times Subscription (Thu, 24 May 2007)

About 4,000 non-consultant hospital doctors are to seek a reduction in their core working week following on from the deal agreed between nurses and health service management. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), which represents the doctors, said yesterday that it would be signalling its intent to submit a claim for a reduced standard week at a meeting with the Health Service Executive (HSE) on Monday.


Government to withhold hospital consultants' pay increase
Irish Times Subscription (Thu, 24 May 2007)

The Government is to withhold pay increases due under the Towards 2016 national agreement from about 1,600 hospital consultants who are currently engaged in industrial action. The consultants are refusing to participate in hospital and national committees and are boycotting some administrative duties as part of a row over the Government's decision to advertise new posts on revised contracts without agreement.




US journal flags RCSI research
Medicine Weekly (Wed, 23 May 2007)

RCSI researchers in Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics (MCT) made the front cover of the latest issue of the distinguished US journal Biological Psychiatry, with their published findings on the biology of schizophrenia. The RCSFs Director of Morphometrics, Dr Robin Hennessy, and his colleagues reported some of the first direct evidence for disruption to intrauterine development in the early origins of schizophrenia, using 3-D laser surface imaging of craniofacial structures.