July 6, 2007

Mental Health

The miracle of recovery
Kilkenny People (Fri, 6th July 2007)
Medicine is a funny business.  Doctors pride themselves on being scientists and using applied science and technology to heal their patients.  Antibiotics, anti-virals and anti-cancer drugs have made huge differences in recent years to many millions of people. However there is far more to medicine and healing than chemistry and drugs.  There is human nature itself with its capacity to change, grow and adapt. It is that ability to change that allows heal- in to occur even in the worst of situations.  We think of recovery from life- threatening illnesses like cancer as medical miracles – perhaps they are – but we shouldn't really be surprised at the capacity of the human spirit to overcome whatever health problems that are put in its way.


Suicide Prevention

Guides published for suicide bereaved
Irish Times Subscription (Thu, 5 Jul 2007)
New guides for people who have been bereaved by suicide have been published today by the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP).
The office published a directory of national support services and an information booklet to help people get through the distressing time following the death of a loved one by suicide. "Tragically, suicide is a phenomenon which affects a wide circle of people, many of whom feel isolated and burdened following the unforeseen death of a loved one," the NOSP said.

Ahern under fire over 'appalling' remark on suicide
Online.ie (Wed, 4 July 2007)
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is coming under fire today for a remark about suicide that he made in a speech to the ICTU conference in Co Donegal.  Mr Ahern told delegates that he could not understand why people making gloomy predictions about the economy didn't commit suicide.  He later apologised when confronted by the media, but the comment has been slammed by opposition parties and support groups working in the area of suicide.

Troubled past linked to rising suicides
Online.ie (Wed, 4 July 2007)
Rising numbers of suicides may be linked to the North's troubled past, fresh research published today has found.  The Department of Health dossier also found those living in violence-racked areas were more prone to depression and said the conflict limited public recognition of suicide.  There were 291 deaths last year, almost double the average of earlier years.  This has been blamed on deprivation, lack of opportunity and copying friends and relatives who took their own lives.

Web watch:Bid to close websites
Irish Examiner (Fri, 6 July 2007)
Irish anti-suicide campaigners will travel to London next week with their counterparts in the North in a bid to close down websites that facilitate suicide attempts.  The North-South delegation is led by the North's Minister for Health, Social Services, and Public Safety Michael McGimpsey and will meet internet service providers on Tuesday to try to monitor "pro-suicide" sites and web con- tent, including Bebo.  Members of the Samaritans will also attend, while the head of the National Office of Suicide Prevention here, Geoff Day, said he was backing the move and hoped to attend.

Scientists locate gene which can trigger suicide in new mums
Irish Independent (Fri, 6 July 2007)
Irish and UK researchers have found the location of genes which can make women vulnerable to severe psychiatric illness or even suicidal after childbirth.  The discovery which has involved researchers at Trinity College Dublin and Cardiff University offers new hope for treating a condition which has devastating effects for new mothers, their children and wider families.  Post-natal depression can come on in women within a few days of giving birth.  It is a severe form of mental illness.  Women with bipolar disorder are at high risk with as many as one-in-three deliveries followed by an episode of post-natal psychosis.

Suicide groups in restructuring bid to boost funds
Irish Examiner (Fri, 6 July 2007)
SUICIDE prevention groups could face a new "grading system" in future where they will receive additional funding for meeting certain criteria.  The head of the National Office for1 Suicide Prevention (NOSP), Geoff Day, said that funding models from the US and Australia were being examined with a view to implementing similar structures here.  He made his comments at the launch of two new booklets; both entitled You Are Not Alone — published as part of the suicide prevention group's Reach Out strategy.

Mental Health Service

‘Compelling case’ to move Central Mental Hospital
Irish Medical News (Fri, 29 June 2007)
Fine Gael Deputy Health Spokesperson, Mr Dan Neville has called for an adjournment debate on the relocation of the Central Mental Hospital to a site adjacent to Thornton Hall, where the new Mountjoy prison complex is scheduled to be built.

Report addresses serious challenges
Irish Medical Times (Fri, 29 June 2007)
The Review of the Operation of the Mental Health Act 2007 poses some interesting questions for doctors and administrators.  The Department of Health's Review of the Operation of the Mental Health Act 2001 has been published without any fanfare or highlighting it to the media or the general public.  The five-year review took submissions from a range of interested parties, including: Amnesty International, the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Irish College of Psychiatrists (ICP), the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA), the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), the Mental Health Commission (MHC), and the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), among others.

Mental care tribunals delayed 'over cost'
Irish Independent (Wed, 4th July 2007)
Tribunals which decide if a patient detained against their will in a psychiatric hospital should be given freedom are being delayed to save money.  The admission was made yesterday to the Department of Health by the Mental Health Commission, the statutory body governing the tribunals.  The long-awaited tribunals, which began last November, involve paid psychiatrists, lay people, and legal representatives.  For the first time, they allowed an outside review of patients who have been detained in hospital involuntarily. They must hold a hearing within 21 days of the detention order after a claim is made that a patient is being held against their will.  More than 2,000 patients are committed to psychiatric hospitals against their will annually and their stay can last from several weeks to many years.  However, a Department of Health review of the operation of the Mental Health Act 2001 revealed how the Mental Health Commission believed it was not "cost effective" to have a tribunal sit to review a case "as soon as possible" after a patient's admission.