March 9, 2007

Mental Health

 College meets with O’Malley
Irish Medical News (Fri, 2 Mar 2007)

The Irish College of Psychiatrists has described its meeting with Minister of State, Mr Tim O’Malley last week as “constructive”. The College presented a number of difficulties to Minister O’Malley however, which included difficulties with the Health Bill because HIQA does not include mental health services.

 Health is best gauge of national happiness
Financial Times (Sat, 3 Mar 2007)

Mental health and blood pressure are a better guide to happiness in European countries than economic performance, according to recent research co-authored by a member of the Bank of England's rate-setting monetary policy committee.

The review of 16 European countries found that nations that regarded themselves as happy reported lower levels of hypertension. The paper also examined the quality of mental health in European countries and found similar results – those countries reporting the worst psychological health included Italy, former East Germany, Greece and France, while those with the best mental health were led by Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Luxembourg.

 Ireland ‘a banana republic for psychiatric services’
The Irish Examiner Archive (Mon, 5 Mar 2007)

 “Ireland is a banana republic for psychiatric services,” consultant psychiatrist Professor Patricia Casey declared at the weekend. The professor of psychiatry at the Mater Hospital and University College Dublin said facilities for psychiatric patients were in an appalling state given the country’s wealth. “There are no proper services for the homeless mentally ill. There are no proper services for people with eating disorders. There are no proper services for people with personality disorders,” she said.

 HSE plan of action
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 6 Mar 2007)

The Minister for Health has specifically requested that special attention be given to the management of investment funding under a new format of the HSE’s National Service Plan (NSP) for 2007, which outlines how the HSE will spend its multi-billion euro budget. The plan, outlined in a 163-page document, has several new initiatives planned for 2007.

 HSE in €50m mental health standards drive

Irish Examiner (Wed, 7 Mar 2007)

An additional €50 million will be spent by the Health Service Executive (HSE) this year on achieving new standards of mental care published yesterday by the Mental Health Commission. The new standards, set out in the Commission's Quality Framework for Mental Health Services in Ireland, will mean that everyone will know what to expect from a mental health service. The HSE, who welcomed the framework, pointed out that more than €790m would be invested in capital infrastructure in the mental health sector over the coming years.

 Doctors to prescribe mental self-help books
The Irish Examiner (Fri, 9 Mar 2007)

Doctors will be able to prescribe self-help books instead of pills for patients with psychological problems under a new scheme launched in Dublin yesterday. The scheme — the first of its kind in Ireland — allows people suffering from depression, anxiety and other psychological problems the opportunity to take the non-medical route to recovery and was developed by the Health Service Executive’ North Inner City Partnership in Primary Care in association with Dublin City Libraries.

 Tackle bullying now, TD says
Irish Health (Tue, 6 Mar 2007)

Ireland has become a more aggressive place, and needs a national anti-bullying strategy, says Fine Gael TD Dan Neville. Mr Neville said bullying should be nipped in the bud when it appears in schools and this could ward off workplace bullying later in life."Children and young people who are the victims of bullying at school often suffer from anxiety and low self-esteem," Mr Neville said. He said that in tragic cases, incidences of suicide have been associated with severe bullying.

 60% of calls to Childline left unanswered (Wed, 7 Mar 2007)

Three in every five calls to Childline went unanswered last year due to a shortage of volunteers, according to the latest figures from the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). The charity noted there were 692 one-to-one contacts made to the service to discuss the issue of suicide while its automated text service received 7,324 requests for support on the same issue. In total the service received 5,049 calls relating to mental health issues which the ISPCC said highlighted a "concerning rise in mental health difficulties affecting children and young people".

 Lack of psychological services a 'breach of human rights'

Village, (Wed, 07 Mar 2007)

According to the Irish College of Psychiatry, 83 per cent of psychiatric consultants do not have access to psychotherapists, 76 per cent have no access to a family therapist and 33 per cent have no access to an occupational therapist. Amnesty International has accused the Irish government of "fundamentally breaching" human rights by neglecting the mental -health service. Sean Love, director of Amnesty Ireland, says: "There is a widespread lack of therapies including psychotherapy and counselling services, in breach of the right to the least restrictive or intrusive treatment."

 Irish Times Article – Getting tangled up in blues

Irish Times (Thurs, 8 Mar 2007)

Despite their fascination with mental illness, few films and television shows get close to the dull truth of what it's like to have a mental disorder. Tim Lott examines how mental illness is portrayed in films and on television.



 Low birth weight link to depression
Irish Health (Wed, 7 Mar 2007)

Girls born with a low birth weight are more likely to suffer from depression as teenagers than those born with normal weight, a new study has claimed. A study carried out at Duke University , North Carolina looked at 1,400 children and found that 38% of girls who were born weighing less than 2.5kg experienced depression at least once between the ages of 13 and 16. In comparison, 8.5% of girls born with a normal weight suffered from depression during that period.


Irish Examiner Feelgood (Fri, 9 Mar 2007)

Helen O’Callaghan reports on the depressive condition bipolar II disorder which affects around 100,000 people in Ireland.


Suicide Prevention

 Suicide prevention training for taxi drivers
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 6 Mar 2007)

Taxi drivers in Derry are being given suicide prevention training in an effort to help them identify people who are at risk of taking their lives and, where possible, talk them out of it. Drivers are given ASIST (applied suicide intervention skills training) training. The drivers are also issued with "rescue kits" that can be stored easily in the taxis and used if the driver comes across an incident. The kits contain first aid equipment, as well as a "throw line" that, if grabbed by someone in the water, can be used to pull them to shore.