Speech by Minister Moloney at the Opening of Cluain Mhuire Mental Health Service’s ‘Centre for Living’, Rose Hill, Carysfort Ave, Blackrock, Co Dublin

I am delighted to be here today to officially open the Centre for Living in these newly renovated premises at Rose Hill. I would like to thank Brother Gregory McCrory, Director of Service, Cluain Mhuire Community Mental Health Service, for inviting me here this afternoon. Of course this is your second celebration today with the opening this morning of the new Mental Health Resource Centre ‘Elvira Gate’.

The development of the Centre for Living which will provide quality mental health services in the community and within non –stigmatised building, is very much in keeping with the ethos of A Vision for Change. It is also I should add, in line with holistic values of the Hospitaller Order of St John of God’s.

Our vision for the mental health service is to provide a service which is patient-centred, flexible community based and where the need for hospital admission is greatly reduced. I think it is fair to say the Centre for Living ticks all those boxes. The service will provide care and support for people who are acutely unwell; people who would otherwise need hospital admission. The approach to mental health care and treatment is focused on the person’s emotional, physical and personal needs and involving family and friends in the recovery process.

It is also very evident that service users are treated with dignity and respect in a pleasant environment and are supported in their recovery by a team of very committed professionals.

Today’s event is a reflection of the great changes that are taking place in the delivery of mental health services. The perception of an institutional style mental health service, standing in isolation and closed from the rest of the community is thankfully a thing of the past as we move the delivery of services from a predominantly hospital-based to a community based service.

Since I was appointed Minister of State with responsibility for Disability and Mental Health in May 2008, the implementation of the ‘A Vision for Change’ has been my main priority. In order to familiarise myself with the situation on the ground I visited many psychiatric units around the country and have spoken with staff, service users, carers, families, voluntary bodies and representative organisations. I now have a very clear picture as to what is required in order to enable us to develop the person centred, community based mental health service which is envisioned in ‘A Vision for Change’ .

Today, I would also like to mark the fourth anniversary of the publication of ‘A Vision for Change’. When it was launched in 2006 it was universally welcomed as a progressive, evidence based and realistic document and while much has changed economically over the past 4 years it remains our blueprint for the development of our mental health service.

I am delighted to say that my two priorities for 2009 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 have been achieved and we can now move forward with renewed energy on our programme for the modernisation of our mental health service.

Budget 2010 provided for a multi-annual programme of capital investment in high priority mental health projects consistent with ‘A Vision for Change’ to be funded from future disposals. In 2010, the HSE may proceed to dispose of surplus assets and reinvest an initial sum of €43m in the mental health capital programme. Provision for continued funding of the programme will be made in the 2011 Estimates and subsequent years, in the light of the previous year’s programme of asset sales.

The mental health capital programme will provide a range of facilities across the entire spectrum of mental healthcare facilities including acute psychiatric units, child and adolescent units, day hospitals, community nursing units and high support hostels.

I believe that the HSE’s recent appointment of a Mr Martin Rogan as the National Lead for mental health represents an important turning point in the implementation process for ‘A Vision for Change’. I have no doubt that this will drive the implementations in a more focussed and strategic manner.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge and commend all those involved here in Cluain Mhuire in providing holistic mental health care in a pleasant and supportive environment. I would also like to recognise the support and commitment of the Hospitaller Order of St John of God to the delivery of mental health services and, of course, in releasing this property to the Cluain Mhuire Services.

I am confident that the work being undertaken will continue to have a positive impact and thus enhance the well-being and quality of life for many people.

Thank you.