June 8, 2007

Mental Health

Males account for 40% of college students who go for counselling
Irish Times Subscription (Mon, 4 June 2007)
Although traditionally reluctant to seek help, up to 40 per cent of third-level students who use student counselling services are male, according to the organisation which represents those charged with providing these services. Relationship, academic issues and depression are the most common reasons why students seek help, according to the Irish Association of University and College Counsellors (IAUCC).

Speaking up for those who can't
Irish Times Subscription (Mon, 4 June 2007)
Psychiatrist Michael Corry's new series of public meetings aims to provide a safe space where sufferers of psychosis can share their experiences. Psychiatrist and psychotherapist Michael Corry is a more radical voice who has gained a certain following both from his charismatic work with individual sufferers of mental health problems and the public meetings, Depression Dialogues, which he has been running in hotels for more than two years. Next month, Corry is launching Psychosis Dialogues, a new series of public meetings for people who have had psychotic experiences.

Family input key to mental health strategies
Irish Times Subscription (Mon, 4 June 2007)
The understanding, coping mechanisms and resilience that families who care for those with mental illness have developed must become a key part of the development of the mental health services in Ireland into the future, a conference has heard. Assistant national director for mental health with the Health Service Executive (HSE), Martin Rogan, said: "When you bring together the coping skills and resilience that families have developed with the knowledge and training of the mental health professionals and the innovative coping mechanisms that the service users themselves develop, you have a very potent mixture and this is where I see our services going into the future."

Teenage kicks
Irish Times Subscription (Mon, 4 June 2007)
Teen Counselling Service has an average waiting time of 103 days for assessment. A new report on teenage counselling underlines why adolescent psychiatry needs urgent funding. The speciality of adolescent psychiatry needs to be urgently developed here, a senior child and adolescent psychiatrist has said. Dr Martin O'Sullivan, who works in both the Mater Hospital and St Vincent's Hospital, Fairview, was speaking as the only dedicated teenage counselling service reported its phone lines had been "inundated" after it published its annual report last week.

Rogue counsellors 'threaten wellbeing of mentally ill'
Irish Examiner (Fri, 8 June 2007)
People suffering mental distress and in need of professional help are in danger of being damaged by rogue counsellors working in an unregulated industry, a conference heard yesterday. The comments were made by Dan Neville TD, the president of the Irish Association of Suicidology, at the opening of the first national conference of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy. Mr Neville claimed there was "no confidence among the public in the support for services for people who are suicidal" and said the area of counselling and therapy regarding psychotherapy needed to be regulated. He also said the next government should consider establishing a mental health court system, in which low-risk, mentally ill prisoners would follow a carefully monitored plan of treatment instead of custodial sentence.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide survivors, care-givers, researchers and policy makers are being urged to take part in an upcoming conference
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 5 June 2007)
Suicide survivors, care-givers, researchers and policy makers are being urged to take part in an upcoming Irish-based international conference on the need for increased focus on prevention and support services for those who continue to be at risk of self-harm. The XXIV Biennial Congress of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), to be held in Killarney between 28 August and 1 September, will concentrate on countries exchanging knowledge about services and on what Congress Chair Dr John Connolly said were “a series of innovative approaches to suicide in recent years”.


Mental Health Service

Call to recruit people with experience of mental ill health
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 5 June 2007)
Statutory bodies such as the HSE and the Mental Health Commission should set targets for the employment of people with mental ill health linked to government policy on employing those with disabilities, a major new report has recommended. According to a draft report by the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) on Mental Health and Social Inclusion, “…the HSE, the National Disability Authority, the Mental Health Commission and the Equality Authority should l
ead by example by setting targets for their employment of people with mental ill health; this would be linked in with the existing three per cent government target on the employment of people with a disability.”

The HSE has come under heavy criticism for the delay in implementing the recommendations of its own
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 5 June 2007)
The HSE has come under heavy criticism for the delay in implementing the recommendations of its own mental health policy document “A Vision for Change.” According to the independent expert group charged with monitoring its progress, there was “little evidence of a systematic approach to implementation [of “A Vision for Change”] during the first year.” The eight-member group, which published its report last Thursday, also expressed concerns that despite the establishment of an implementation group by the HSE in July last year, it still did not have an implementation plan and this was “impeding progress.”

Doctor defends shredding of records
Irish Health (Thu, 7 June 2007)
A leading psychiatrist has defended his decision to destroy medical records relating to an experimental treatment programme, involving the use of the drug ketamine, which he ran at Dublin's St Brendan's Hospital in the early 1990s. The Information Commissioner, acting on a request for the records from a female patient who took part in the programme, has criticised the decision to destroy the records and the fact that the records of the treatment programme were kept separately from the patient's ordinary hospital records.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders in men on increase
The Irish Examiner Archive (Mon, 4 June 2007)
Twenty years ago, only one male for every 10 to 15 females suffered from anorexia or bulimia. But today research shows that for every four females with anorexia, there is one male, and for every eight females with bulimia there is one male. “Eating disorders have increased rapidly in the last decade — especially the last five years,” said Dr John Griffin, a consultant psychiatrist who heads up a special support unit at St Patrick’s Hospital, Dublin.


Study identifies hereditary disease genes
RTE (Thu, 7 June 2007)
Scientists in Britain have identified 15 new genes responsible for common inherited diseases. The medical researchers say the discovery could be a big step forward in the search for treatments. The study by the Wellcome Trust analysed DNA from the blood of 17,000 people to find genetic differences. The research, which cost £9 million, involved 50 leading research groups which analysed the DNA from 2,000 sufferers of each of seven conditions and 3,000 volunteers. 'Gene chips' were used to scan hundreds of thousands of DNA markers to find common genetic differences.They found new genetic variants for depression, Crohn's disease, coronary heart disease, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 and 2 diabetes.