November 16, 2007

Mental Health

Winning awards with a friendly attitude
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 13 Nov 2007)
Making new friends is a great help to those who suffer from mental health problems, an innovative voluntary project has found. The North Dublin Befriending project, which brings together volunteers and people with mental health problems, has just received a best practice award for its work from the international organisation of mental health associations, Mental Health Europe.

Babies' mental health in focus
Irish Health (Thu, 15 Nov 2007)
Early childhood development has focused on physical aspects, but mental and emotional issues are also very important, a conference today will be told. The possibility of depression in babies will be one of the topics at Ireland’s first National Infant Mental Health Conference in Cork. The conference, Baby in Mind, aims to raise awareness of infant mental health, a new concept to Ireland, which has been pioneered by two HSE psychologists.

Pathways giving mental-health patients new hope
Corkman (Thur, 8 Nov 2007)
Attendance from mental health patients at a training centre for people with disabilities in North Cork was at an all-time high this year. The manager of a training organisation in Mallow for people with injuries, illnesses, learning difficulties and disabilities, reported that this year the attendance is exclusively from people with mental health problems. The National Training Network held an open day last Friday at the YouthReach Centre in Mallow to highlight the impact that a Pathways programme has had on the lives of people who suffer from mental health problems.

Half of bosses say hiring mentally ill staff is risky'
Irish Examiner (Wed, 14 Nov 2007)
Half of bosses say hiring mentally ill staff is 'too risky' More than half of employers believe it is too risky to give a job to a person with a mental illness and a quarter admit they would refuse someone a job based on their mental health history. A survey of both employers and workers found two-thirds (66%) of bosses would reduce the responsibility given to a staff member if they found out they had problems with depression, anxiety or schizophrenia. A third (35%) would not consider them for promotion. The research carried out by Millward Brown IMS, shows mental illness is poorly understood and regarded as "strange and threatening" in the workplace.

Change on mental health sought
Irish Health (Wed, 14 Nov 2007)
Ireland’s National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) has called for a radical shift on mental health, in two new research reports published today. There is still considerable stigma and prejudice in Ireland around the issue of mental health, higher than for other forms of disability and this impacts adversely on employment, housing and daily life in the community, according to the research.

Suicide Prevention

Japan calling for end to 'honour' suicide tradition
Irish Independent (Mon, 12 Nov 2007)
The Japanese government is calling for a complete national rethink about attitudes to suicide, in an effort to unravel centuries of social pressure and tradition. The practice, which claims more than 90 lives each day, should no longer be seen as "the honourable way out" but as an act of desperation and – perhaps – preventable misery. The government has published a "counter-suicide White Paper", which sets out a nine- step plan to transform the way in which suicide is regarded and treated.

'Monitor effects of soap operas on youngsters'
Irish Examiner (Wed, 14 Nov 2007)
Parents and teachers should be more aware of the effects EastEnders and soap operas like it -were having on young people's outlooks, the key note speaker at a conference on suicide prevention in schools said yesterday. The broadcaster and psychotherapist Gareth O'Callaghan said children from as young as four were being exposed to soap operas like EastEnders where the story lines were often "appalling". School was often the only structured part of their day and they were left to watch television for the evening.

Surge in suicide rates and alcohol consumption
Irish Examiner (Wed, 14 Nov 2007)
Suicide rates and average alcohol consumption have shot up in Ireland over a 25-year period, according to a study measuring the performance of health systems across 30 countries. The report contained stark figures on Irish suicide rates. In Ireland suicide rates shot up 41% between 1980 and 2004, the second highest increase behind Spain which was up 50%. Although average alcohol consumption has gradually fallen in many OECD countries over the past two decades, Ireland is an exception, where it rose by 41% in the population aged 15 years and above.

Mental Health Service

Mental health body criticises progress (Fri, 9 Nov 2007)
The State's watchdog on mental healthcare has expressed concern at the slow pace at which health authorities are working to implement a national policy on developing mental health services. At its first annual conference yesterday, the Mental Health Commission said key parts of A Vision for Change blueprint were still not in place almost two years after the policy was accepted by the Government.

Psychiatric patients 'still endure' poor conditions
Irish Times Subscription (Sat, 10 Nov 2007)
Patients in large psychiatric hospitals which are scheduled to close are continuing to endure poor conditions, the Inspector of Mental Services has said. Dr Susan Finnerty said the inspectorate, which is responsible for the inspection of all mental health facilities on an annual basis, is "very concerned" about conditions within the hospitals. Last year the Government announced plans to close 15 of the biggest psychiatric hospitals. The intention is to replace them with new acute units which will operate with a ratio of 50 beds for every 300,000 people.

Gardai take mentally ill patients into care
Irish Examiner (Fri, 9 Nov 2007)
Freeze on recruiting staff to the Health Service Executive has lead to an increase in cases where gardai place mentally ill people in care against their will. A number of "authorised officers" were promised by the HSE to help with the involuntary detention of people with mental and psychological illnesses. The promise was part of the Mental Health Act 2001 which was designed to in- crease the rights of patients being placed into psychiatric care. But the system -of authorised officers was not rolled out and as a result, gardai are the ones taking mentally ill patients away to care.

One in three return to hospital
Irish Independent (Tue,13 Nov 2007)
One-third of released psychiatric patients are re- admitted to hospital within five years, a new report warned yesterday. The Health Research Board (HRB) report found that people suffering from depression, alcoholism or schizophrenia were the most likely to be re-admitted to psychiatric hospitals after discharge.


Depression ails our economy
Irish Times Subscription (Thu, 15 Nov 2007)
Depression is more than a personal issue – it is also an employment and economic issue, argues
Danny McCoy.