Speaking Notes for Minister Moloney for Launch of the “Recovery in Ireland” DVD and Poster on behalf of the Institute for the Mental Health Recovery Education Consortium ( IMHREC )

I would like to thank Margaret Webb for her kind invitation to me today to launch the Consortium’s DVD and poster. I should also acknowledge that Margaret is a member of the Independent Monitoring Group on ‘A Vision for Change’ and I would like to thank her for her very valuable contribution to the work of the Group.

Today of course marks the culmination of the very successful IMHREC programme. Recovery and WRAP training has now been developed, designed and delivered nationally to service users, service providers and families. Heartiest congratulations are due to all for a job well done. This recovery education programme has shown that recovery is possible and has provided very practical ways for service users to work towards wellness on a daily basis.

I am very keen to promote and reinforce the message that recovery is achievable. Of course recovery principles underpin A Vision for Change, the Government’s blueprint for the development of our mental health services. The IMHREC programme provides an opportunity for us to gain a deeper understanding of recovery and explore how WRAP may be used to facilitate recovery.

I recently launched a very interesting report on behalf of the Health Research Board. The report ‘Reconnecting with Life: personal experiences of recovering from mental health problems in Ireland’ is the outcome of a study which draws on the experiences of service users, to identify elements of person-centred, recovery oriented care in our mental health service, and also to identify those aspects of our mental health services which can impede recovery. The results of this study will I believe provide us with a new level of understanding of what mental health recovery is from the perspective of those recovering, and this will in turn inform the development and planning of recovery-oriented mental health services in Ireland.

Since my appointment as Minister for State with special responsibility for Equality, Disability and Mental Health, I have been committed to the implementation of ‘A Vision for Change’. I am aware that concerns have been expressed at the apparent lack of progress in implementation, and I accept that progress to date has been somewhat slower than anticipated. However, it is important to recognise that progress has, and is, being made particularly in the development of child and adolescent services, the forensic mental health service, the development of a mental health information system and, of course, in service user involvement.

My two priorities for 2009 were to get agreement on the funding of the mental health capital programme from the proceeds of sales of mental health assets and to ensure the appointment of a National Lead on Mental Health within the HSE to drive the implementation of a ‘A Vision for Change’. I am delighted that both these elements have been achieved and we can now move forward with renewed energy on our programme for the modernisation of our mental health service.

One of my priorities for 2010 is to address stigma associated with associated with mental ill health. We must eliminate social exclusion, stigmatisation and discrimination of the mentally ill and create a culture and environment where people in distress feel they can seek help from family, friends and health professionals. I hope to make an announcement on this initiative in the next few weeks.

Finally, I would like to thank all those involved in the organisation of today’s event. I hope all present will take the opportunity to reflect, exchange ideas and experiences, make connections and generate knowledge which I hope will help to focus efforts into making mental health recovery a reality for everyone.

Thank you.