Speech by Minister Moloney at the Opening of Clúid Housing Association

I would like thank Marian O’Keefe for the kind invitation to me to perform the official opening of this development today. I hope that Carrigabrick Lodge will serve as a model for service developments elsewhere, and I would like to congratulate everyone associated with this very worthwhile project.

The ethos that guides mental health policy in “A Vision for Change” requires that services be characterised and led by a partnership between all stakeholders. A comprehensive mental health care system requires that services at all levels – from community support groups, to voluntary groups, to primary care, to specialist mental health services – work in an integrated, coordinated fashion for the benefit of all people with mental health difficulties and I am certain that I speak for all present here today when I acknowledge the exceptional combined efforts of Cork County Council, the HSE and Clứid Housing Association, and congratulate them for providing such quality accommodation for people recovering from mental health problems in this peaceful, secure and homely environment.

‘A Vision for Change’ provides a framework for the development of mental health services with the service user at the centre and with an emphasis firmly on recovery. ‘Recovery’ of course does not necessarily imply a cure but suggests that individuals can reclaim their lives, be involved in society and live as independently as possible. I strongly believe that people with mental illness can and should be facilitated in reclaiming their lives.

Clearly therefore a recovery approach should inform every level of service provision so service users learn to understand and cope with their mental health difficulties, build on their inherent strengths and resourcefulness, establish networks and pursue dreams and goals that are important to them and to which they are entitled as citizens.

To achieve this people need not only supportive mental health services, but they also need supportive communities where actions are taken to address basic needs such as housing, but also employment and education.

For people recovering from a mental or physical illness, the idea of one’s own home in a secure environment is an extremely important component in their recovery. Indeed the provision of suitable accommodation can be the single most important element in allowing people to successfully integrate back into their community. This is why the work of all those involved in this project and similar projects is of such value, not only to the community itself, but to society in general.

The fact that this official opening is taking place today is a reflection of the great changes that have been unfolding in the mental health services in Ireland in recent years. The perception of an institutional style mental health service, standing in isolation and closed from the rest of the community is thankfully becoming a thing of the past as we shift the delivery of services from predominantly hospital-based, to community based care.

I do not wish to dwell on policy developments here today, but I will say that ‘A Vision for Change’ is a work in progress. I am hopeful that despite the downturn in the economy we can continue to build on the progress to date, and realise our ‘Vision’ for the mental health service. I would like to confirm my own personal commitment to the provision of the best possible care in the area of mental health and I will use my position and do my utmost to achieve this

I have the great pleasure to declare Carrigabrick Lodge officially open. Once again, my congratulations to all involved in the completion of this project and finally and most importantly of all, I would like to wish the residents every happiness and good health in their new homes.