Press Release

Minister O´Malley Addresses the GROW Conference

Mr. Tim O´Malley T.D., Minister for State at the Department of Health and Children today (Wednesday 12th November, 2003) addressed the 13th National Conference of GROW in Dublin. The theme of this conference was “Keeping the Revolution in Mental Health Going”.

“An event such as this provides the opportunity for me to acknowledge the important work of GROW which is one of the largest mutual help organizations in the field of mental health in this country” the Minister said.

In his address, the Minister referred to the factors which increase the likelihood of mental breakdown. These include: poverty, unemployment, loneliness, loss of identity, helplessness and hopelessness. These factors are known to contribute to acute mental crises such as depression, stress-related disorders, suicidal feelings or dependency on drugs and/or alcohol.

“The positive side of the coin is that we also know the factors which contribute to well-being and recovery from such difficulties. One of the most important of these is friendship, and a sense of belonging. This is one of the areas in which Grow offers so much” the Minister added.

The Minister paid tribute to the success of the Grow recovery programme. “I am particularly impressed with the courage and dignity of the ´Growers´ whose stories were published in the second volume of your book Soul Survivors” said the Minister.

In his address, the Minister stated that recent years have seen dramatic changes in both the concept and practice of mental health care delivery in Ireland. Enormous strides have been made and continue to be made in developing a service, which is comprehensive, community-based and integrated with other health services. “The shift in the delivery of services from predominantly hospital-based care to care in the community has undoubtedly enhanced the quality of care for persons with a mental illness,” added the Minister

The Minister referred to the commitment given in the National Health Strategy – “Quality and Fairness – A Health System for You”, that a new national policy framework for the further modernization of mental health services would be prepared and confirmed that the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy had been established in August 2003. “The Expert Group will examine all areas of mental health policy and service provision. The Group has invited written submissions and is expected to complete its work within 18 months”, said the Minister

The Minister acknowledged the very important work performed by voluntary organisations such as Grow in promoting a positive attitude in the community towards positive mental health and wished them continued success in their work.

Minister´s Speech