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Welcome to our June newsletter. This month we bring you highlights of our report on how much has been done to improve mental health services and supports since Ireland's mental health policy was published in 2006. In the report A Vision for Change nine years on: a coalition analysis of progress we describe implementation so far as "incomplete and uneven", although we acknowledge the commitment of many staff members to making change happen.

You can read our press release on the launch of the report here. Below we share highlights from the report and some media coverage of its findings.

Quotes from contributors to the report:

Paul, who has spent almost half his life homeless or in psychiatric hospitals, has now got his own place to live in supported housing: "I have a life now. I didn't before. I'm happy with my life."

Anne, who has experienced the bad and the good in mental health services, now has a key-worker and is living her life to the full: "For 10 years I was lost to my family, but I have found my way back."

Regina, who has been using mental health services for over 20 years, has recently got the support of an understanding GP: "He made me feel like a person, not a number ... If you don't have good mental health, you have nothing."

Ann, who has repeatedly tried to complain about her son's care, says her experience has been isolating and draining: "When you're fighting a system and ... a culture that doesn't listen to people, you get tired out."

You can read seven case studies in the full report.

Highlights from MHR's report

Mental Health Reform's aim with this report was to look at how close we are to the vision of a mental health system that supports people to recover their well-being. The report covers areas including the involvement of people who use mental health services, mental health services for the general population and for people who are homeless and people with intellectual disability.
  • Irish mental health spending is currently 6% of the overall health budget, compared to 13% in the UK.
  • People with a mental health disability are nine times more likely to be outside the labour force than those of working age without a disability. 
  • Some of the most vulnerable, highest risk groups such as people with intellectual disability, people with addiction, and children and adolescents involved in the criminal justice system, have received the least development of services so far.  
In the conclusion to the report, we point out that whole-of-government action is needed to ensure that people with mental health difficulties can recover their well-being and live a full life in their community.

Download the full report here

Your support is vital

You can help continue the fight for better mental health services and supports. Please adopt Mental Health Reform as your charity of choice this summer, and walk, jog or run to keep the voice for reform alive. Sign up to here

Thank you!
Coverage of the report on AVFC

The report got extensive media coverage, including:

The Seán O'Rourke Show on RTE Radio 1 on 3rd June. Listen back

The Lunchtime Show with Jonathan Healy on Newstalk on 3rd June. Listen back (5 minutes in).

Irish Examiner on 3rd June: Government’s mental health policy ‘uneven’, says report.

Irish Independent on 3rd June: Mental health services have been 'bleeding' vital staff, report warns.

Irish Examiner on 4th June: Ireland’s mental health service suffering from deficits.  

Irish Medical Times on 11th June: Half required psychiatry of old age teams in place
Letter to the Sunday Independent

Last weekend, Mental Health Reform and Inclusion Ireland had a letter published in the Sunday Independent, in response to an article on the use of chemical restraint to control challenging behaviour of people with severe mental health conditions and people with an intellectual disability.

The joint letter pointed out the need for Ireland’s regulations on in-patient mental health centres to be extended to cover all forms of restraint, and in the meantime for the health services to adopt policies to reduce the use of chemical restraint as a matter of priority.

Mental Health Commission report 2014

This month, the Mental Health Commission published its annual report, including the reports of the Acting Inspector of Mental Health Services.

In her report, Acting Inspector Dr Susan Finnerty highlights some concerns about services, including the fact that some 24-hour supervised residences for people with severe mental health difficulties are still institutional in nature. She also expresses disappointment that there was a decrease in 2014 in compliance levels for the regulation on Individual Care Plans, with only 41% of approved centres compliant with this regulation.
Mental Health Reform

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