Press Release

Minister Moloney marks World Mental Health Day

Calling attention to World Mental Health Day tomorrow, Saturday 10th October 2009, Mr. John Moloney, T.D, Minister for State with responsibility for Equality, Disability and Mental Health said “As Minister for Mental Health, I am delighted to mark the 10th of October, World Mental Health Day. 2009 is the 17th year of this initiative which was developed by the World Federation for Mental Health – a global mental health organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.”

The Minister added “The day provides an opportunity not only to raise awareness about mental health issues but also to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of individuals, statutory and non-statutory bodies throughout the world, dedicated to helping people with mental health problems.

“I very much welcome the chosen theme for 2009 ‘Mental Health in Primary Care: Enhancing Treatment and Promoting Mental Health’. ‘A Vision for Change’, the Government’s policy framework for the development of mental health services, recognises the pivotal role of primary care services in addressing mental health needs. The General Practitioner is the first point of contact for people with mental health problems. 90% of mental health problems are dealt with in primary care. A comprehensive mental health care system requires that services at all levels from community support groups, to voluntary groups, to primary care, to specialist mental health services work in an integrated, coordinated fashion for the benefit of all. The ultimate goal is to provide person-centred, flexible community-based service.”

The Minister added “The HSE’s prioritisation of Primary Care which provides for the accommodation of Community Mental Health professionals in Primary Care Centres, 20 of which will be in place by end of 2009, is very positive in developing a service which will benefit service users and professionals alike.”

Background

  • World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health – a global mental health organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries. 2009 marks the 17th year of this global mental health education campaign.
  • Statistics show that approximately 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems in their lifetime.
  • The term ‘primary care’ is often synonymous with ‘general practice’. While general practice is a key element of primary care, the term ‘primary care’ encompasses a broad range of health and social services delivered by a variety of professionals such as GPs, public health nurses, social workers, community welfare officers and welfare officers in places of employment.
  • The organisation and delivery of primary cares services in Ireland is undergoing significant change in accordance with the recommendations of the Primary Care Strategy (2001).
  • The development of closer links between mental health services and primary care is another key recommendation of ‘A Vision for Change’. The HSE has approved locations for 95 Primary Care Centres which will be developed in 2009 and 2010, and 72 of these centres have been identified as potential locations for Community Mental Health Teams and/or day hospitals. This will mean that the Community Mental Health Teams while be operating alongside Primary Care Teams in these new centres. It is planned that 20 Primary Care Centres with an integrated Community Mental Health facility will be in place by the end of 2009.