June 1, 2007


Suicide Prevention


'Because you're worth it' motto used to help prevent suicide
Irish Times Subscription (Mon, 28 May 2007)

Five thousand magnets printed with information on suicide prevention, contact details for support services and the slogan "because you're worth it" are being distributed throughout Dublin 17 as part of a new collaboration between local youth and community organisations. The magnets are the starting point for a campaign created in response to increased concerns about suicide and the deaths of young people in the area and throughout the State; last year, almost 500 people died by suicide and hospitals reported some 11,000 cases of self-harm.



Mental Health


Anti-depressants for medical-card holders cost State €40m

Sunday Independent (Sun, 27 May 2007)

A consultant psychiatrist has estimated that 250,000 people are now taking anti-depressants here. It is costing the State over €40m a year to supply Irish medical-card holders with free anti-depressants, according to official government figures. In 2005, a total of 176,123 medical-card holders claimed for the medication, costing the state €41,673,390, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE). The cost of supplying the drugs has risen nearly €4.5m from the previous year, indicating an increase in the number of Irish patients being prescribed anti-depressant medication.


Few Irish employers have mental health policies in place
Irish Medical News (Fri, 25 May 2007)

A National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) commissioned study on mental health and social inclusion has found that only 20 per cent of Irish employers have mental health policies in place. While over 90 per cent of employers agreed that employees with mental ill health have valuable skills and experience that they do not want to lose, some 54 per cent of employers think that organisations take a significant risk when employing people with mental ill health.


We should borrow Scotland's equality policy

Irish Examiner Money & Jobs (Fri, 1 June 2007)

The modern office or plant can be an unforgiving place for some — the sheer pace of life can itself prove destabilising and old attitudes are not easily shifted. The National Economic and Social Forum project team on mental health and social inclusion has just released details of a survey of attitudes to those with mental illness. It .was carried out by Milward Brown IMS. Commenting on the findings Milward Brown director Alan Sheehy Skeffington had this to say: "Among employers, there is a lack of knowledge, an uncertainty about the handling of mental health issues. There is a very positive attitude towards social inclusion, in theory, but in practice very little is done to promote inclusion. Employers would like more disclosure, but the fact that stigma exists means there is a lack of disclosure. "


More than 30 asylum seekers die in five years

Irish Examiner (Mon, 29 May 2007)

More than 30 asylum seekers have died in State-funded accommodation over the past five years. Despite a falling number of people entering the "direct provision" system, Department of Justice statistics revealed four asylum seekers have died this year. However, the department emphasised that between 2002 and 200.6 more than 30,000 asylum seekers passed through its accommodation-provided programmes. The cause of death in most cases was not disclosed, but a support group has claimed mental health was a serious problem within the asylum seekers' sector.



Mental Health Service


‘Children with special needs can be assessed by NEPs’
Irish Medical News (Fri, 25 May 2007)

The HSE has moved to explain why it has limited referrals to chi
ld and adolescent mental health services in the Kildare area. According to Mr Martin Rogan, Assistant National Director, Mental Health, HSE, there are 67 children on the waiting list in the mid-Kildare area and children requiring a special needs assessment go through the same process as those requiring mental health help. Mr Rogan said if an assessment is needed now for special needs it can be done through the National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS).


Teenagers seeking mental health counselling on rise

Irish Examiner (Mon, 28 May 2007)

A growing number of teenagers are seeking help and counselling as a result of mental health problems, according to figures form Teen Counselling. Its annual report, to be published today, shows a growing rate of depression and self-harm, which were factors in a fifth of all cases that they dealt with. The service is run by the Catholic Social Care Agency of the Dublin Diocese and provided help for almost 500 families last year through a phone line and counselling service. The report for 2006 expressed "serious concern" that there was a 25% increase in referrals for mental health problems.


Hospital site move 'worst possible idea imaginable'

Irish Examiner (Fri, 1 June 2007)

The incoming government could come under pressure to drop plans to move the Central Mental Hospital to the site of a new super-prison after it emerged that the hospital's clinical director -wrote to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern condemning the plan. In a letter obtained by the Irish Examiner, Dr Harry Kennedy said placing the hospital on the same site as a prison "is about as bad an idea as it is possible to imagine". Dr Kennedy is strongly critical of the fact that he wasn't included in plans to move the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) and that he only learned of developments through the media. The outgoing government decided to move the CMH from Dundrum, south Dublin, to Thornton Hall in north Dublin.


Experimental drug records destroyed
Irish Health (Thu, 31 May 2007)

The Information Commissioner has criticised the destroying of records at a major psychiatric hospital relating to the administration of the drug ketamine to a patient as part of an experimental therapy programme in the early 1990s. The Commissioner's latest annual report states that records of the therapy sessions and the administration of the drug were destroyed by or on behalf of the then Clinical Director of St Brendan's Hospital in Dublin on his retirement.



Health Service


HSE to write to consultants over industrial action
Irish Times Subscription (Fri, 1 June 2007)

Health service management is to write to the State's 2,200 public hospital consultants to ask them individually if they are taking part in the current industrial action over Government plans to reform their contract. Doctors who acknowledge that they are members of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) and say that they are taking part in the current industrial action will not be paid a 2 per cent increase scheduled to come into effect from today.




Depressed teens in some areas wait 11 weeks for treatment

Irish Examiner (Mon, 29 may 2007)

More young people are seeking help for depression, anxiety and self-harm, and waiting times to get help average 11 weeks in certain areas, new figures show; Figures released yesterday from the Teen Counselling Service, run by the Dublin Diocese Agency, showed a 25% increase in the number of referrals for psychiatric assessment. However, the report also showed problems with waiting times to refer young people to psychiatric help, despite Health Service Executive funding. In Clondalkin, Dublin, one client had to wait 306 days to be seen, while the average waiting time was 77 days.


Antidepressants appear to help men lower alcohol consumption, but not women

Medicore (Wed, 30 May 2007)

A new study conducted by the (Canadian) Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) finds that women suffering from depression consume more alcohol than women who are not depressed, regardless of antidepressant use. And this result differs significantly from findings for men; while depressed men consume more alcohol than non-depressed men, those men using antidepressants consume alcohol at about the same level as non-depressed men.