Press Release

Minister O’Malley Addresses Joint Mental Health Cross-Border Conference

Mr. Tim O’Malley T.D., Minister of State with special responsibility for mental health at the Department of Health and Children, today (Thursday 20th October 2005) opened the Cross-Border Conference of the Irish and British Association of Social Workers.

The theme of the conference is “Thinking Outside the Box – Developing Mental Health Services”

The Minister noted that there are simultaneous Reviews of Mental Health Policy in the North and South of Ireland. There is an on-going Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability services being conducted by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland and an Expert Group on Mental Health Policy was established in the South in August 2003 to prepare a new national policy framework for the mental health services.

The Minister commented on the fact that Social workers like all other professionals in mental health will have to meet the challenge of a changing environment. “Social workers have an essential role in a community-based mental health service. Their training, with it’s emphasis on the social sciences and on helping people to become responsible for their own lives, links them closely with the kind of service we are now trying to create” the Minister added.

The Minister thanked the Irish Association of Social Workers and their Northern Ireland counterparts, the British Association of Social Workers Ireland, for their work in educating public opinion about mental illness and wished them continued success.