Address By Mr. Trevor Sargent T.D. Minister Of State At The Department Of Health And Children At The Launch Of Rehab Group’s Report ‘A Socially Inclusive Recovery Model Of Mental Health Rehabilitation’

A Chairde, I am delighted to be here today to officially launch this Report ‘A Socially Inclusive Recovery Model of Mental Health Rehabilitation’.

I would like to thank Ena Lavelle and Mary Clare Walsh for their very interesting and informative presentations. It is clear that the ‘Reach’ and ‘Delvin’ services are of great benefit to people with enduring mental health difficulties offering opportunities for education, training, and employment.

As well as developing social and personal skills required to live and work within the community. Indeed, I am delighted to host a great group from REACH here from my own hometown on a visit to Leinster House yesterday. I hope they enjoyed the visit as much as I did.

Embodied in ‘A Vision for Change’ is the belief that individuals can reclaim their lives, live as independently as possible and be involved in society. Access to training and employment is an essential part of that recovery process and opens the way to being independent and becoming involved in society.

As Minister for Food and Horticulture with an interest in mental health services, I take an interest for example, in Camphill communities of which there are 14 in Ireland. One community of 20 people in Kilkenny runs a successful organic farm.

People go to work for various reasons, economic gain, self-esteem, stature and respect in the community. In order to facilitate people with mental health difficulties achieve employment, it is necessary to promote a flexible view of the workplace and develop a variety of “employment models”.

A Vision for Change provides a framework for the provision of a modern and progressive mental health service; a framework for the type of service that any one of us would want, if we, or a relative or friend, developed a mental health problem.

And let’s face it; given that 1 in 4 of us will suffer a mental illness at some time in our life, it is highly likely that many of us will be at the receiving end of our mental health service at some stage. Therefore, it is very important that we work together, to progress implementation of ‘A Vision for Change’.

Unlike many other areas of the health services active involvement of service users in mental health service provision is now well recognised. However, much work still needs to be done to provide the multidisciplinary, home-based and assertive outreach care that is required to deliver the model for service development outlined in ‘A Vision for Change’.

A detailed plan for the implementation of ‘A Vision for Change’ has been adopted by the HSE. It prioritises for 2009 the development of community based mental health services, including the establishment of further multidisciplinary teams which will reduce hospital admissions and facilitate a reduction in demand for bed numbers.

While financial investment in the development of mental health services is important, it is also vital that we utilise the existing resources within mental health.

The development of mental health services as outlined in ‘A Vision for Change’ requires substantial change in the organisation and delivery of mental health services. Implementation requires the reallocation and remodelling of existing resources in order to facilitate the move from institutional to community based care.

Professor Drumm, Chief Executive of the HSE recently confirmed that a national lead person dedicated to mental health will be appointed shortly. The person assigned to the position will report to the National Director and work closely with the National Clinical Director to drive the modernisation of the mental health service and will provide focused leadership. I am confident that this new lead person will bring a new impetus to the implementation of ‘A Vision for Change’.

As part of our plan to further develop mental health services the Government established in 2008, the Office for Disability and Mental Health to support my Department colleague Minister of State Moloney in exercising his responsibilities across four Government Departments: Health & Children, Education & Science, Enterprise, Trade & Employment and Justice, Equality & Law Reform.

Finally I am delighted to officially launch this Report, ‘A Socially Inclusive Recovery Model of Mental Health Rehabilitation’. The success of the model of service provision you have outlined in the Report speaks for itself, with over 80 individuals participating in the Reach and Delvin services and 25 of the 50 learners progressing to employment or further training by the end of 2008. These are tangible and quantifiable results but it is also true to say that many of the benefits reaped by participants are not quite so quantifiable but important and indeed life changing nonetheless.

I would particularly like to commend the members of the project team who were involved in developing these services – representatives from Rehab Group, the National Learning Network, the HSE and the Dublin Central Mental Health Service. You are making a real difference in people’s lives and I wish you continued success in the future.