Press Release

Minister opens major mental health seminar

The Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Tim O´Malley, T.D., today Wednesday May 5th opened a Consultation Day on mental health policy in the Strand Hotel in Limerick. The seminar is the second in a series hosted by the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy, chaired by Professor Joyce O´Connor of the National College of Ireland.

“We´ve come a long way in our understanding of mental health and mental illness,” the Minister said. “But the aspiration to be inclusive, to ensure those with mental illnesses can live as independently as possible and contribute to the full extent of their abilities, has not yet been fulfilled. The purpose of today’s seminar is to inform the work of the Expert Group in this regard”.

The Expert Group on Mental Health Policy began, in 2003, to prepare a new national policy framework for mental health services and has thus far received more than 150 submissions from individuals and organisations.

“This level of response is a clear indicator of the eagerness of service users and service providers alike to contribute to a radically new configuration of services,” said Professor O´Connor. “That’s important. A newly inclusive approach to mental health and mental health services should be informed by a wide range of thinking. Each submission will be studied and debated by the Expert Group.”

The agenda for today´s seminar includes workshops on community-based services and “offering more than medication”.

It is expected that up to 100 people will attend, including clinical directors, nurses, managers, other health professionals, GPs and service users.