November 9, 2007




Mental Health

Cannabis far more toxic to the adolescent brain
Irish Independent (Mon, 5 Nov 2007)
Cannabis is far more toxic to the brains of young people who are exposed to the drug, than it is to adults, according to ground-breaking new Irish research. The unpublished work, by scientists at Trinity College, Dublin, includes technology which actually takes photographs of subjects' brains. Studies into cannabis, running in tandem, point to a difference in the way the brain operates for cannabis users and non-cannabis users. But the research also suggests that the drug is more toxic to youngsters. Dr Hugh Garavan, who is leading one of the studies is examining the prefrontal cortex which is used for decision making, and the hippocampus which is used for memory.

The Carrigdhoun, Page 16, (10-Nov-2007)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder with two parts – obsessions, which are unwanted thoughts or ideas and compulsions, which are repetitive actions. OCD occurs in up to 30 % of the population and usually begins in adolescence. This disorder causes obsession with certain ideas, thoughts and images that intrude on the person's normal thoughts. To relieve the anxiety brought on by the obsessive thoughts, the person feels compelled to repeat certain physical or mental actions….


Seminar on misuse of drink and drugs by Mayo teens
Connaught Telegraph, Page 5b, (07-Nov-2007)
THE Mayo Mental Health Association will host a seminar in the Welcome Inn Hotel, Castlebar, on November 19 to address alcohol and drug misuse by teenagers in the county. A host of well known and expert speakers will address the seminar including Mid-West's Tommy Marren, public health specialist Dr. Joe Barry, author Professor Patricia Casey and participants of the Clondalkin Addiction Support Programme. Dr. Barry is a specialist in public health medicine with the HSE Eastern Region. He's also a senior lecturer in public health in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Trinity College Dublin.

One in seven had mental or emotional problem in past year
Irish Examiner, Page 9, 09-Nov-2007
One in 10 people have spoken to their GP about their mental health in the past year, a study has revealed. It also found that women are more likely to admit they are suffering from psychological distress. The study conducted for the Health Research Board involved telephone interviews with a little more than 2,700 adults. It found that one in seven people had experienced a mental, nervous or emotional problem in the past year. However, eight out of 10 people described their quality of life, physical and mental health as good or very good.

Suicide Prevention

Launch of 4U magazine as part of fight against suicide
Roscommon People (Fri, 2 Nov 2007)
The launch of '4U', a magazine aimed at young people which is inspired by the suicide rate in this area, was officially launched by comedian Joe Rooney in Gleeson's Townhouse, Roscommon on Friday night last. The glossy 48-page magazine, which will be distributed to secondary schools in the region from next week, was produced by Roscommon Lions Club. There are plans to produce three further is- sues of 4U during the cur- rent school year. The magazine addresses mental health related is- sues and publishes helplines but also contains articles and photographs on sport, music, celebrity issues, etc.

Samaritans hope signs at Moher will act as lifeline
Irish Examiner (Tue, 6 Nov 2007)
Signs have been placed at the Cliffs of Moher by Clare County Council in conjunction with the Samaritans in an attempt to deter people contemplating suicide not to take their own lives at the location. Recently, the renowned cliffs have been used by a small number who jumped over the edge to end their lives, prompting the Samaritans to contact the council on the issue. Earlier this year, Samaritan volunteers and council officials walked the site to identify the most appropriate locations for the erection of the signage. Director of the Samaritans in Co Clare, Mary Lynch, said: "We have tried to make the signs visible, while being conscious that it is a sensitive and beautiful area.”

Embracing the human condition
Sunday Independent (Sun, 4 Nov 2007)
What could agricultural authority Teagasc possibly have in common with the Indian “hugging saint” and Spiritual leader Mother Amma? The answer lies in their shared concern with suicide in rural communities, and among farmers in particular. Worried by the rise in suicide rates in rural Ireland, Teagasc has initiated a study in collaboration with UCD which will take about 12 months to complete. Mean- while, more than 7,500km away in India, Mata Amritanandamayi, better known as Amma, has just launched a US$44.million programme to address the suicide epidemic among Indian farmers, arising from the strain of debt and crop failure.

Conference to tackle youth suicide
Irish Health (Tue, 6 Nov 2007)
A national conference to tackle Ireland’s youth suicide figures will be held next week. According to the World Health Organization, Ireland has the seventh highest rate of suicide in people aged 15-24 in the EU. The Irish Association of Suicidology, which is hosting the conference on suicide prevention in schools, said it would address the need for a ‘whole school approach to suicide prevention and crisis intervention’. Schools have a very important part to play in suicide prevention – in identifying pupils at risk and dealing with them appropriately, as well as ensuring that pupils leave school with adequate life skills and problem solving skills including help seeking behaviour to cope with life in the real world, the association said.

Founder of Samaritans dies aged 95
Irish Times Subscription (Thu, 8 Nov 2007)
Chad Varah, the founder of the Samaritans helpline, has died peacefully at the age of 95, his family said today. Prince Charles, patron of the charity, said Varah was an "outstanding humanitarian and a great Briton.  (He) was an utterly remarkable man who founded an organisation which has saved the lives of countless people since 1953," the prince added.

Irish Examiner Feelgood, Page 2, 09-Nov-2007
A conference on Ireland's youth suicide problem will be held in Kerry next week. Hosted by the Irish Association of Suicidology, the conference will address the role of schools in preventing suicide, both by identifying at risk pupils and by equipping students with adequate life and problem solving skills for when they leave school. Issues to be covered include suicide risk factors, signs of suicide and coping in the aftermath of suicide. The conference, which is aimed at school staff, members of parents' and youth organisations and other interested bodies, takes place in the Brandon Hotel, Tralee.

'Suicide capital of the world'
Irish Examiner, Page 15, 09-Nov-2007
Finland only recently shed a bleak record as one of the world's suicide capitals after the number of people taking their own lives dropped by.40% in the past 15 years. Finland's dire reputation as a nation of suicidals dates back to the 25-year period from 1965 to 1990, when Finland experienced an economic and urban boom and the suicide rate tripled. By 1991, Finland was the world leader in teen suicides.

Mental Health Service

Family 'kept in the dark' over sister's condition&
Sunday Tribune (Sun, 4 Nov 2007)
A Solicitor representing a young woman who has been involuntarily detained at a psychiatric unit for the past two years has claimed her detention may be unlawful.  The woman's sister has also expressed grave concern that her human rights have been seriously violated and said the hospital has paid little heed to the family's wishes. Karen English (27), a mother of one from Cork, was arrested by gardai just over two years ago in Cork city centre for being intoxicated in a public place. While in custody, gardai formed the opinion she was a danger to herself or others and had her examined by a doctor. The doctor agreed she was a danger and English was brought to the HSE-run Carrig Mor psychiatric centre at Shanakiel, Cork.