Press Release

Minister O’Malley Addresses Kerry Mental Health Association Conference

Mr Tim O’Malley TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health & Children with special responsibility for Mental Health, today (Friday, 26th May ) addressed the Kerry Mental Health Association conference in Killarney.

In his address, the Minister referred to the fact that for many years people with a mental illness were excluded from full participation in community life, as a result of widespread stigmatisation of mental illness. “Thankfully, there is now a recognition of the right of each person to participate fully in the social, economic, political and cultural activities of their communities. Recognition of that right is vital if we are to build an inclusive society in which all of our citizens can contribute their experiences, talents and abilities,” the Minister said.

The Minister noted that there is a growing awareness and concern throughout the country about mental health matters. “Recent years have seen dramatic changes in both the concept and practice of mental health care delivery. Enormous strides have been made and continue to be made in developing a comprehensive, community-based service which is integrated with other health services” the Minister said

The Minister referred to the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy which he established in August 2003 to prepare a national policy framework for the further modernisation of mental health services. The report outlines an exciting vision of the future for mental health services in Ireland and sets out a framework for action to achieve it over the next 7-10 years.

The report proposes a holistic view of mental illness and recommends an integrated multidisciplinary approach to addressing the biological, psychological and social factors that contribute to mental health problems. A person-centred treatment approach which addresses each of these elements through an integrated care plan, reflecting best practice, and most importantly evolved and agreed with both service users and their carers is recommended.

‘I would like to stress the Government’s commitment to the development of services for those suffering from mental illness. I am confident that we can build on the substantial progress to date so that we can all work together to bring about a mental health service worthy of the Ireland of the 21st century’ said the Minister.

The Minister acknowledged the very important work performed by voluntary organisations such as Kerry Mental Health Association ‘Your input is invaluable in not only providing support for those most vulnerable in our society, but also in heightening awareness of the importance of research and education in this area’ the Minister added.

The Minister congratulated Kerry Mental Health Association on its achievements to date and wished them continued success in their work.