March 30, 2007

Mental Health Service 

Mental health services 'inadequate'
Irish Times Subscription (Wed, 28 Mar 2007)

The lack of mental health services available to patients in the community has been strongly criticised by the independent watchdog for the mental health sector. Despite Government pledges to close old-style psychiatric institutions and improve community-based treatment, inspectors found that services in most parts of the country were hampered by a lack of staff, poor management and resource shortages.

Forgotten People

Irish Examiner (Thur, 29 Mar 2007)

The report of the mental health service inspector is a disturbing read for the third year running, writes Caroline O'Doherty. Badly managed, poorly resourced and lacking in direction for the future — the picture painted by the Inspector of Mental Health Services of the country's psychiatric facilities and services is bleak. Dr Susan Finnerty uses language that is unavoidably provocative. She talks of a lack of logic, of surprising attitudes, of practices and conditions that are "worrying", "disturbing" and "unacceptable

Many mental care patients live in squalid conditions'

Irish Independent (Thur, 29 Mar 2007)

Many long-stay psychiatric patients are being forced to wander around aimlessly all day in drab and sometimes dirty conditions in neglected state- run mental health institutions. The bleak picture of life for hundreds of the 2,760 patients, many of whom are now elderly and isolated from their families, is revealed in the annual report of the Inspector of Mental Health Services. The damning conditions – highlighted for the third year by Inspector Susan Finnerty – exist against a background of "dysfunctional" management by the Health Service Executive. The report reveals how patients in many wards were observed wandering around with nothing to do or sitting motionless.

 Mental health care short-staffed
Irish Health (Wed, 28 Mar 2007)

Only two regions out of 32 across the country have sufficient mental health services, the Inspector of Mental Health Services says. The Inspector's annual report says the other 30 areas do not have the full range of personnel to offer a comprehensive service to the community. The Inspector's office is part of the Mental Health Commission (MHC), which publishes its fifth annual report today. Dr Susan Finnerty, acting inspector of Mental Health Services, says there has been a change for the better with widespread acceptance that multi-disciplinary teams are necessary. However, she said the staffing of such teams is inadequate.

Role of MHC is not properly understood
Irish Medical Times (Thu, 29 Mar 2007)

The legal profession may see the Mental Health Commission as “adversarial” and not there to protect patients, according to Fine Gael’s spokesman on Health Dr Liam Twomey. The Wexford GP said he is aware of concerns that the legal profession’s view is that if a patient’s involuntary admission is rejected by the Mental Health Commission (MHC), the doctor who signed the involuntary admission form can be sued.

Tribunals are plagued by a staggering list of problems
Irish Medical Times (Thu, 29 Mar 2007)

A host of problems are plaguing Ireland’s new Mental Health Tribunals and the operation of the Mental Health Act, 2001, two confidential documents seen by Irish Medical Times have revealed. In these documents both the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) recently told the Department of Health, as part of the review of the Act, about the myriad difficulties that exist.

Involuntarily detained psychiatric patients could be held illegally
Irish Medical Times (Thu, 29 Mar 2007)

There are fears that some involuntarily detained psychiatric patients may have been held in mental health institutions illegally because of problems with transitional arrangements under the Mental Health Act, 2001. It is understood that the Mental Health Commission (MHC) has asked health services around the State to review mental health tribunals that were held (under transitional arrangements) into the cases of certain involuntarily detained psychiatric patients.


Mental Health

 Weeding out the drug debate

Medicine Weekly, (Wed 28 Mar)

Dr Muiris Houston outlines the dangers of cannabis use and its frightening links with mental illness, while also examining the drug's medicinal benefits.

Alcohol and tobacco 'more harmful than many illegal drugs'

Irish Examiner (Fri, 23 Mar 2007)

Alcohol and tobacco are more harmful to individuals and to society than many illegal drugs, including cannabis and ecstasy, according to a new report. The main findings of the study — published in the Lancet medical journal — were endorsed by Ireland's top Government drugs adviser.

Mental Health given voice ahead of general election
Medicine Weekly (Wed, 28 Mar 2007)

The Mental Health Action Group held a public meeting on Tuesday in Dublin in an effort to give mental illness a greater voice in the upcoming General Election. The meeting is one of a series of meetings to be convened around the country by the Action Group to raise public a
nd political awareness around the need to improve mental health services in Ireland. Member of the Action Group and Director of Schizophrenia Ireland Mr John Saunders said events such as these served to focus election candidates’ minds on mental health issues as well as serving as an educational forum.



Suicide Prevention

 'Helplines should be free'

Echo – Tallaght (Wed, 28 Mar 2007)

Calls have been made for mobile phone operators to drop all charges associated with accessing suicide prevention helplines. While calls to many of these helplines are free, at the moment mobile phone users still need to have a nominal amount of credit left in order for the call to connect. The issue is to be brought to the attention of Communications Minister Noel Dempsey by South Dublin County Council following a question asked by Clondalkin councillor Shane O'Connor (Sinn Fein) at a recent Lucan/ Clondalkin area committee meeting.

Try not to end it all..

Irish Daily Mirror (Thur, 29 Mar 2007)

Samaritans have called up top rugby internationals to help in a major drive against suicide among young men. Shane Horgan and Denis Hickey will front the campaign which will be launched this summer. The charity's new Irish director Suzanne Costello said: "There's a great number of young men taking their own lives in Ireland." "The message we need to get across is that if you are going through emotional stress then it is OK to talk about it.

Centre opens for adults bereaved through suicide

Irish Examiner (Wed, 28 Mar 2007)

A service offering support to people bereaved through suicide has opened in Limerick. The Console Limerick Service offers counselling to people in the mid western health board area which covers Limerick, north Tipperary and Clare. According to coordinating counsellor Josephine Quinlan, suicide is a very traumatic experience which can often leave a grieving person "paralysed by grief".. _ "A distressed person may find it hard to look for help but we are here and we understand," she said.

Eating Disorders

Eating away at life
Irish Times Subscription (Wed, 28 Mar 2007)

Despite an increase in the frequency and severity of eating disorder cases, there are fewer than 30 dedicated beds. Up to 200,000 people are estimated to have an eating disorder in Ireland, yet there are fewer than 30 dedicated inpatient eating disorder beds in the State – only three of which are public – and they are all based in Dublin. There are 16 private beds at St Patrick's Hospital, eight private beds at St John of God's and three public beds at St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.

Eating disorders – the facts
Irish Times Subscription (Wed, 28 Mar 2007)

There are no national statistics available on the prevalence of eating disorders in Ireland. However, it is widely documented that eating disorders most commonly appear in adolescent girls and young women in their early 20s. Recent studies suggest an increased incidence among males and among children.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

 Mayo booklet to help Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sufferers

Connaught Telegraph (Wed, 29 Mar 2007)

A new booklet from Mayo Mental Health Services on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is now available in GPs' offices around Mayo. The booklet is understood to be the first of its kind published by a health authority in Ireland and it is the second of a series of three. The first booklet released focuses on panic attacks, a condition that was once brushed off as a simple case of nerves or stress, but which is now recognised as a potentially disabling but treatable condition. The third booklet in the series will examine shyness and social anxiety and is due to be distributed in the next two to three weeks.