September 28, 2007

Mental Health

Arty activities improve health
Irish Health (Sun, 23 Sep 2007)
Getting involved with arts activities can help keep us healthy, according to a new study.  The research from the Manchester Metropolitan University showed that engaging in painting, dance, crafts, music and story-telling can increase psychological well-being and lower levels of anxiety and depression.

Fish still best source of Omega-3, say scientists
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 25 Sep 2007)
A British nutritional research scientist says that fish and seafood are still the "best sources" for the fatty acid that can tackle depression and treat children with educational and behavioural disorders.  Many supplements and capsules are no substitute for seafood itself, according to Dr Alex Richardson, Oxford-based senior research scientist and director of the British charity, Food and Behaviour Research.

Mentally ill 'ought not have children' – survey (Fri, 28 Sep 2007)
More than one-third of Irish people believe that people with mental health difficulties should not be allowed to have children, according to the National Disability Authority (NDA).
Its latest survey of public attitudes to disabilities has uncovered more negative attitude towards mental health difficulties than any other disability, with high percentages of respondents believing people with mental health problems should not have children, sexual relationships or attend mainstream schools.

Blowing the final whistle on drinking culture
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 25 Sep 2007)
Among the many concerns of parents in modern Ireland, the emotional wellbeing of teenage children looms large.  The manifestations of emotional "un-wellness" are not only commonplace but also very graphic.  Teen suicide, depression, eating disorders and substance abuse are some of the issues which demand a national debate on the wellbeing of children in this society. In attempting to address this matter it would be a mistake to adopt a starting position that endorses the view that these young people are somehow separate from the wider society and that this malaise is unique to a particular stage in the life cycle, which they will grow out of as they get older. 

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Awareness
The Argus (Wed, 19 Sep 2007)
The Marshes Shopping Centre will play host to a 'Suicide Awareness' event next month as part of a series of projects being organised by Dundalk company EPC Europe.  The company are dedicating their time and efforts to promote suicide awareness in conjunction with the Louth based charity SOSAD Ireland.  The charity operates through a new website ( that aims to increase suicide awareness and educate people in how and where to get help if it is ever needed.

Adams wants all Ireland suicide prevention alliance (Mon, 24 Sep 2007)
The governments on both side of the border need to show leadership in tackling suicide and self-harm, Gerry Adams insisted today.  The Sinn Féin president told a conference hosted by his party at Stormont an alliance on suicide prevention needed to be forged throughout the island, with both administrations building on their anti-suicide strategies

Suicide's deep roots in rural Ireland
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 25 Sep 2007)
Suicide in a farming family is more difficult to deal with than in other rural or urban families. The farming community is uncomfortable with the whole idea of suicide, even though the serious problem relating to self-harm and suicide may well be more widespread in rural communities than in other sectors of society.  This is because Catholicism is still strong in rural Ireland and the old idea that suicide victims cannot be buried in sacred ground is still believed by many people who live there.  But it goes further than that.

Teagasc study aims to break the silence
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 25 Sep 2007)
The rising rate of suicide among young men in rural areas has prompted the first Irish study into the problem.  When someone dies by suicide in rural Ireland, a dark shadow passes over the whole community as people search for reasons why.  The biggest question that haunts those closest to the person who died is almost always, could we have prevented it and how?  The rising rate of suicide among young men in rural areas in the past 10 years has also grabbed the attention of academics, health professionals and voluntary agencies as everyone seeks ways to reverse the upward spiral of rural suicide.

Calls for school counsellors to help reduce suicide rate
Irish Examiner (Wed, 26 Sep 2007)
All schools should have counsellors who are trained to deal with the problems facing young people to help reduce suicide rates, a conference will hear today.  The call will be made at the annual congress of the Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA), representing the 32 city and county Vocational Education Committees (VECs) further education courses.  Co Wexford VEC and IVEA's standing council will call on Education Minister Mary Hanafin to provide schools with trained counsellors who have relevant experience, in light of the number of suicides among young students.  "

Suicide victims' families lobby for 24/7 services
Irish Times Subscription (Wed, 26 Sep 2007)
The families of suicide victims from Co Wexford will meet Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in the Dáil today to discuss the implementation of improved psychiatric services for those experiencing mental health difficulties.  Barry Grace is to lead the newly-formed suicide action group called 24/7.  He lost his family in August 2005 when his wife Sharon drowned herself and their two daughters, Mikahla, aged four, and Abby, aged five, off Kaats Strand in Wexford.

Mental Health Service

Planning permission crux for Minister
Irish Medical News (Fri, 21 Sep 2007)
Obtaining planning permission for the new Central Mental Hospital at Thornton Hall may be problematic, as the site is currently zoned for agricultural use, Health Minister Mary Harney has been told. 

Mental health information service opens in Fermoy
The Avondhu (Thurs, 20 Sep 2007)
A new service to assist those with mental health difficulties will begin in Fermoy on this Thursday September 20.  The service will be to provide information and assistance in accessing appropriate supports and services in the region.  Key agencies such as the Mental Health Services, HSE, Schizophrenia Ireland, Cork Mental Health Foundation and Irish Advocacy Network are pooling their resources in order to set up this service. 

Construction set to begin on new €16m hospital
Irish Examiner (Fri, 21 Sep 2007)
Work on a new €16 million commu
nity hospital in An Daingean is expected to start in the coming weeks.  The Health Service Executive (HSE) yesterday confirmed it had signed a contract with land owner Shane O'Connor to lease a five-acre site at Farran, on the outskirts of the town, for the 72-bed hospital.  A day care centre for older people, a mental health day care centre and a new ambulance base for west Kerry will also be built on the site.

Eating Disorders

Anorexia and bulimia warning on teen girls
Herald AM (Fri, 21 Sep 2007)
Experts warned yesterday of the "inherent problem" of eating disorders among schoolchildren, particularly adolescent girls, after new research found that one in three is underweight.  Even more disturbing was that more than one in 10 of that group believed they were too fat – sparking fears of increasing rates of anorexia and bulimia among teenage girls. The findings were part of a huge seven-year study conducted by University College Dublin into the nation's health.  
Anorexic poster girl prompts health fears
Irish Independent (Wed, 26 Sep 2007)
She is the poster girl with a difference: at 27, the French actress Isabella Caro weighs 31kg (4st 121b) and has suffered from anorexia for 15 years.  She appeared naked on billboards across Italy yesterday to raise awareness of the illness, but also to promote a fashion label.  Her emaciated body, framed by the controversial photographer Oliviero Toscani in a campaign to coincide with Milan Fashion Week, appears alongside the slogan "No Anorexia" and the brand name Nolita, a label intended for young women.  Fashionistais hailed the poster campaign as a turning point but health experts were outraged and voiced fears that teenage girls might be encouraged to "compete for extreme thinness " after seeing the images.