Speech for Minister Moloney for the Launch of the Evaluation Report on the Wellness Recovery Action Planning Programme

I wish to thank Margaret Webb for her invitation today to officially launch the Evaluation Report of the Mental Health Recovery Learning Programme.

I met some of you in February when I launched the Irish Mental Health Recovery Education Consortium’s DVD and poster and I am pleased to be invited back to launch this Evaluation Report.

This Recovery Learning Programme which is the first national project of this kind in Ireland to focus on recovery education with persons in recovery, their families and service providers. I am delighted to hear that it has been extremely well received. I understand that overall, participants spoke very positively and were enthusiastic about the benefits they had achieved personally, professionally and within their broader social circle as a result of their participation in the programme. Many described their experience as inspiring, invigorating, life changing and empowering. The programme exposed participants to new ways of thinking about recovery and they left the programme with a great sense of optimism about the concepts underpinning recovery and a clear message of hope.

Sixty-seven graduates are now qualified WRAP facilitators who will continue to disperse the learning of the Programme. I wish to commend all the graduates who took part in this programme and congratulate them on their achievements.

Recovery is one of the fundamental principles of ‘A Vision for Change’ in the sense that people with mental illness can and should be facilitated in reclaiming their lives. I am very keen to promote and reinforce the message that recovery is achievable and this recovery education programme shows that recovery is possible and provides service users with a means of managing their own recovery.

The results of this study have provided 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 the future.

I strongly believe that people with mental illness can and should be facilitated in reclaiming their lives. I have made the reduction of the stigma associated with mental ill health as one of my priorities for 2010. We must work to 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.

The ‘See Change’ National Mental Health Stigma Reduction Campaign, which was launched on 15th April, has the potential to effect change within Irish society and help lay the necessary foundations for a real and positive transformation of how mental illness is perceived.

The aim of the ‘See Change’ Campaign is to reduce the stigma people feel and to encourage them to seek help. The campaign also intends to challenge people’s beliefs about mental illness and to encourage them to be more open in their attitudes and behaviour. It will also encourage people to support a friend or loved one who is experiencing a mental health problem.

In conclusion, I would like to recognise all of those involved in developing this project here in Ireland and, in particular, the four agencies that are involved in the Consortium: Ballyhoura Development, Eastern Vocational Enterprises, Mayo Mental Health Association, Slí Eile and Steer Ireland. I would also like to thank the Advisory Group and the researchers from University College Cork, the University of Nottingham and Trinity College, Dublin who undertook this very important evaluation.

I am delighted to officially launch this Report and I again congratulate all of the graduates. Their experiences in completing this Programme will be of great value to the mental health services nationwide.