Speaking Note – Minister Lynch at Launch of Seminar “iFightDepression:E –Self Management of Depression in the context of Current and Future Mental Health Programmes”, UCC.

  • Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and at the outset I wish to thank the National Suicide Research Foundation for their kind invitation to open this important seminar to discuss mental health programmes and the potential of technology in promoting awareness of and treating depression and in particular the “iFightDepression” self-management programme.


  • Mental health is a resource that needs to be promoted and protected. The importance of promoting positive mental health, not just among individuals experiencing mental health difficulties, but across the entire population cannot be over-stated. Mental illness does not discriminate.


  • Experts say that one in four of us will experience a mental health problem in our lifetime, an increase linked, it seems, to how we live our lives in the 21st century. But numbers alone do not measure the suffering, the isolation, the stifling of human potential, the lost productivity and the brake on the development in general for society. Too many families everyday are forced to confront the sheer initial helplessness and terror when a loved one at any age becomes mentally ill.


  • So the message we need to send out is yes, mental health problems are real disorders and yes they have symptoms and cause suffering – but, they can be managed and treated in the right circumstances and no matter how dark it may seem at any given point, something can always be done.


  • Depression is a chronic illness that is persistent and repeated episodes can occur over time. Those with major depression are 21 times more likely to engage in attempted suicide than non-depressed individuals. But it is also important to remember that depression is a treatable manageable illness, to be tackled no differently than most illnesses, by way of early diagnosis, treatment and recovery.


  • Because of the overlap between depression and suicide, it is not surprising that improving the care of depressed patients is considered an effective approach to preventing suicidal behaviour.


  • The “iFightDepression” tool will be an invaluable resource to both patients and clinicians. For the service user, it will be helpful to understand what depression is and isn’t. It is not something to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about. Neither is it a character flaw or a sign of weakness, or a lack of discipline or personal strength. It is also not just a ‘mood’ one can ‘snap out of’.


  • Because it is internet-based, the “iFightDepression” Tool empowers the patient by virtue of its accessibility, regardless of time of day, geographical location, and financial status.  Its focus on self-management and its implementation through general practitioners and psychotherapists is innovative, encouraging a stepped approach to the best practice management of depression in a community setting.


  • Also, the “iFightDepression” Tool and website are both multi-lingual instruments, allowing the same high-quality information to be accessed across multiple countries. Even though they are implemented on a local level and a community-based setting, the different language versions are available to all, facilitating patients with a non-native language.


  • Using the internet has become a common place everyday activity especially by young people through all kinds of devices. and I congratulate all associated with the “iFightDepression” tool, which will undoubtedly for many years to come help those, regardless of age, with mild to moderate depression overcome and recover from their illness, and to know that they are not alone with their illness.


  • Thank you.