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a newsletter dedicated to connecting you with local Mental Health Associations and other organisations

Mensana* Mental Health Ireland

Supporting Positive Mental Health

In this issue NEWS AND EVENTS “My Mind Matters” Conference p.3


Summer 2011

SPECIAL Pullout INSIDE MHI Resource Pack Summary Young Mental Health Ireland

REGIONAL EXPRESS An Taoiseach launches Jigsaw Galway’s new hub p.17 The BuildING Resilience Together Campaign Ten Tips to Build Your Resilience p.26 WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY Singing for your Mental Health! p.32 MHI PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES 30th National Public Speaking Final p.33 MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION & PROMOTION Mental Health and Young People p.37

“My Mind Matters” Conference

The Glasson Hotel & Country Club, Killinure, Glasson, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Wednesday, 27th April, 2011 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Young Mental Health Ireland and Westmeath Comhairle na nÓg Conference “My Mind Matters” Following the great success of the Inaugural Young Mental Health Ireland Conference in 2009, Mental Health Ireland was delighted to join forces with Westmeath Comhairle na nÓg and co-host the “My Mind Matters” Conference in the Glasson Hotel and Country Club, Killinure, Glasson, Athlone, Co. Westmeath on Wednesday, 27th April 2011.

The conference was aimed at young people in the age group 15 to 25. The Conference Programme had been specifically designed in conjunction with members of Young Mental Health Ireland & Westmeath Comhairle na nÓg, who prioritised youth mental health as one of their most important topics for 2011. Consultation with young people was a cornerstone to the success of the conference to meet the needs of young people and deal with issues relevant to them.

Vol 19 Issue 1

Comhairle na nÓg Executives

* “Mens sana in corpore sano” - Latin quotation meaning: “A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body”



“My Mind Matters” Conference Personal Perspective of Mental Health – Lisa Butterly “The Me Nobody Knows” Playlet/drama script Annual General Meeting - Mental Health Ireland New Section of MHI Website

REGIONAL EXPRESS Eastern Region Midland Region North Eastern Region North Western Region Southern Region South Eastern Region Western Region

BuildING Resilience Together Campaign Campaign Outline Building Resilience Information Leaflet

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY Theme for World Mental Health Day 2011 Events around the Country National Choral Singing Project Singing for your mental health!

MHI PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES National Public Speaking Final 2011 National Photographic Project Design a Cover Art Project Adjudicator Training Workshops Mental Health Matters Facilitator Training MHI Workshops available to local MHAs


p. 3 p. 4 p. 7 p. 7 p. 9 p.10 p.11 p.11 p.13 p.15 p.16 p.16 p. 20 p. 26

p.27 p.28 p.32 p.32 p. 33 p. 34 p. 35 p. 35 p. 36 p. 36

Mental Health and Young People – it is about you! Mental Health Ireland Support for Post-Primary School and Colleges What’s the Crack with Laughter Yoga?

p.37 p. 38 p. 39


p.40 p.42 p.43

News and Events “My Mind Matters” Conference continued

Around 200 young people, youth leaders and representatives from national youth organisations attended. Master of Ceremonies for the day was Ted Tierney, Deputy CEO, MHI. Among the special guests invited to the conference were: Minister for Children, Ms. Frances Fitzgerald, T.D.; Cathaoirleach Cllr. Michael Dollard from Westmeath County Council and MHI Chairman, Mr. Michael Hughes. They all addressed the conference delegates stressing the importance of young people’s mental health as they are the future of Ireland.

• “Bouncing Back - Harnessing Strengths during Challenging Times” by Shane Martin, Psychologist and Director of Moodwatchers

• “Are you under Pressure?” presented by Finola Colgan and Nicola Morley, Mental Health Ireland; and Edweena Dully, Midlands Regional Youth Services. • “Youth Organisations – What they can do for Young People” presented by John Gilmore, President, Youth Work Ireland. • Music by Paul Boyle and the winners from Mullingar and Athlone Teen Factor competitions: Drina Golding & Jenny Brady and Sky is the Limit.

Drina Golding and Jenny Brady, Mullingar Teen Factor Competition winners

Danielle Scally from Midland Drama Schools on stage

• Outdoor Activities – Graffitti painting Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D. addressing the conference delegates

The Keynote Address was delivered by Mike Ciesla on the topic of the importance of resilience to young people as a life skill. Mike began his career as a teacher, moved into middle and senior management, before becoming a regional development coordinator promoting needs driven pupil and staff support systems. He has project managed a range of programmes for mainstream schools all of which focussed on key personal social skills relevant to pro-social behaviour, good citizenship, emotional literacy and mental health and well-being. Now he promotes assertive skill development and positive behaviour management. Other presentations included: • “Growing Pains – a Personal Perspective of Mental Health” presented by Lisa Butterly • “The Me Nobody Knows” a Playlet/ Drama on youth mental health issues by Midland Drama Schools

Athlone Teen Factor Competition winners: Sky is the Limit

Graffitti painting

• 4 interactive workshops dealing with relevant issues for young people: • “Body Image and Eating Disorders” presented by Siobhan Foster, Regional Co-Ordinator, SPHE. • “You are Involved…Why Young People Should Become Volunteers” presented by Sinead Hardiman, Volunteer Manager, Barnardos; Cy Cleary and Deirdre Campbell, Comhairle na nÓg.

In general, based on the attendance and feedback given by the participants, the conference was a huge success. From MHI’s perspective, forging a partnership with a youth organisation was instrumental in targeting this population group. This also opens up opportunities to increase the membership of Young Mental Health Ireland as was the case at this event. In order to replicate this initiative in other parts of the country, our learning is that it is helpful to have another local youth organisation involved as partners in the conference to build on the awareness and promotion of the Young Mental Health Ireland initiative.


Growing Pains - Personal Perspective of Mental Health by Lisa Butterly

Let me start with one of my favourite quotations from the 1951 cartoon version of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. “Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction.” The aim of telling you about my experiences from a young age is to help make you aware of how important mental health is in your life. It is also to help you think about how mental health difficulties can affect a young person’s life compared to an adult who develops problems. It is a concern for me that adult experiences of mental health problems are considered the same or similar in effect to a young person’s experiences. This is not the case and limits how we can learn to understand the impact of mental health problems on young people and the importance of developing skills to maintain mental wellbeing. This story concentrates on my experiences in the education system and the impact of mental illness on my progression through education from a young age. In September 1992, I started fourth year in secondary school. It was the Junior Cert year and I was fifteen years old. I had a close circle of friends, tried to do my school work, keep out of trouble and have fun when possible. It was normal to start considering college courses and subject choices. My interest at this age was in Computer Science. I hoped in time to go to university and get a degree in the subject. My home life was happy, there was no trouble in my family situation and I got on well with my parents, brother, sisters and friends. I did not take recreational drugs or alcohol. I was a good student, liked all my teachers and enjoyed attending school. There were no outside influences that could affect my mental health.


The opposite of this was that I had been experiencing mental health problems for a long time without telling anyone around me: - my family, friends or teachers. I started hearing voices, feeling paranoid and very unsafe in my surroundings. In secondary school the experiences became far more intense and regular. I tried to keep up with school work but this was becoming more difficult over time. I wasn’t sleeping at night and for a long time I was living on very little energy. By December 1992, I was unable to function normally in school. My school work went downhill rapidly. I went from a top grade student to failing a lot of my subjects in the mock Junior Cert exams in early 1993. My friends started to notice changes in my behaviour and mood. They didn’t understand these changes so didn’t alert my teachers or family. My downward spiral was most evident during school hours because I was able to keep contact with my family to a minimum at home. I had to study for my Junior Cert so I spent a lot of time in my bedroom in the evenings. It appeared as if I was working hard at my schoolwork. I was also the youngest of four children so my parents were already experienced in the demands of the teenage years. It was not unusual to be moody and want to spend a lot of time on my own reading or listening to music. I think the last thing on a lot of parents’ mind would be that their teenage child is hearing voices, having hallucinations and experiencing times of paranoia. Listening to loud music for me was an attempt to drown out the noise in my head. Sitting in my room with the light off except for a lamp or candle was so that I didn’t have the visual disturbances so intensely. These were coping skills I developed around the difficult experiences but can easily be used to explain the behaviour of many teenagers. As time progressed, the only way I found to describe any of the symptoms was by saying I had a bad headache. A headache describes pain in your head or something that is causing trouble or worry. From my perspective, my head was hurting and the pressure was growing as time went on. My parents brought me to the family GP

because I was having so many headaches. I was given tests on a number of occasions but nothing showed up to explain the headaches. For a long time, there wasn’t any language I could use to describe my experiences with mental health problems. A typical teenager will spend most of their time talking and confiding in their friends rather than the adults in their life. While it is important to be aware of how to maintain good mental health, it is equally significant for young people to be aware of the signs of mental distress in yourself and others around you. This advice comes with a warning not to try and find mental health problems if there are none present. There can be a tendency to quickly describe normal human behaviour and actions as a mental illness or disorder. Educating young people on the difference between mental health and ill-health is a positive way forward in reducing stigma and prejudice faced by people with mental health problems. It also allows for an opportunity to develop better and more appropriate policies that will specifically cater for the needs of young people with mental health difficulties within the education system. In my case, by early 1993, I was in a cycle of confusion and extreme mental distress. The symptoms had escalated and I had become very depressed. The experiences were so overwhelming that I felt like I couldn’t cope anymore. I attempted suicide over the Easter break in April a few days before my sixteenth birthday. I had reached a point when I was tortured by the noise in my head and couldn’t think of any other way to stop it. As a result of my actions, my family intervened and I was brought to the general hospital. My family was in shock and struggled to understand what was going on. On the other hand, I went through a few days on cloud nine because I didn’t feel so alone anymore. The elation was a very temporary state of mind but it made me realise that the isolation I experienced was adding to my mental ill-health for months previously. Perhaps being able to open up much earlier may have eased some of the difficult symptoms I was experiencing. In early May 1993, I was

admitted to the adolescent unit in St. John of Gods Hospital in Stillorgan. I spent five weeks in a locked ward for observation and assessment. When I left the hospital, I wasn’t well but I thought once I got back to school, took my medication and things went back to normal then everything would be fine. That was not the way it worked out. I wasn’t able to go back to school or sit the Junior Cert in June. In September, I returned to school to start fifth year but the medication made it impossible to continue so I had to leave the school system for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t long before my friends and I had nothing in common anymore and contact quickly stopped between us. By the time I was 18 years old I had been admitted to the hospital in Dublin a number of times for long durations. As a young person, I had to come to terms with the loss of my future in education, my place in society as a normal teenager and the loss of friendship and connection with those my own age. At the same time, I had to take numerous medications to help with the symptoms of the illness while coping with strong and enduring side effects. At eighteen, I entered the adult psychiatric system and spent the next six years in and out of the psychiatric hospital in County Louth. In those years my options to progress as a young person in Ireland with a mental disability were very limited. I didn’t have a Junior or Leaving Cert qualification so employment was not an option. Education courses for young people in special circumstances were not available in my area. I was too old for the secondary school system and too young for full time adult education courses. Providing resources for young people with enduring mental health difficulties was not part of national policy and I believe the situation has not changed much in the last ten years or so. My family consistently tried to find ways to help me return to society and be accepted as a person with a disability but they faced a lot of closed doors along the way. In the meantime, they continued to hang on to the confidence that one day I would get an opportunity to lead an independent life but I would have to fight for it. I don’t think my family realised how much of a fight it would turn out to be or that people with mental health problems, who try to progress in life, face so many unnecessary obstacles in the education system. From the age of 16 to 24 years old, I spent a lot of time in psychiatric hospitals. Continuous changes in medication over this time brought a multitude of problems such as harsh side effects and an increase in symptoms. At times it was difficult to keep looking to the future and the hope of living a productive life. In that

time, I agreed to changes in medication often because I hoped that at some stage I would be given a medication that suited. My goal with mental health problems was realistic. If I was put on a medication that relieved some of the symptoms and had few side effects then I might start to feel in control of my life once more. Following years of trial and error with the medications available I learned that finding relief from the symptoms of the illness alone was not something that was acceptable in my mental health care. The daily side effects can become just as debilitating in the long term. In 2000, I went on a new medication on the market which started to make a difference to my mental health and also had side effects I could deal with. This development, alongside therapeutic intervention, gave me a chance to start recovering. Recovery is a very individual experience as there is no cure for mental illness yet. Acceptance was an important part of my recovery. Rather than creating a situation where I tried to undo the damage the previous ten years had caused, I accepted that I was not the same person and the illness was inevitably going to affect me in the long term. The more positive aspects that came from the experiences was that I learned to cope with very difficult circumstances at a young age and had grown up quickly as a result. I tried not to dwell on the fact that I missed out on key developments from adolescence to adulthood and focused on how I could utilise the skills I had learned to my advantage. The key to my recovery was having resilience for difficult experiences both with the symptoms of my illness and my life circumstances. An important part of this was learning to take every part of my progress in small steps hoping that each little success would build confidence. In 2001, at 24 years old, I had a chance to re-enter the education system as an adult learner and gain a qualification equivalent to a basic Junior Cert. In May, I started a six-week introductory course in the local Adult Education Centre aiming to attend every day from 10 to 1pm Monday to Friday. This was a very big task for me at the time. I successfully completed the course and started on a one-year NCVA (National Council for Vocational Awards) course the following September. After finishing that programme in May 2002, I decided to attempt the one-year Leaving Certificate course in September the same year. In June 2003, I sat the Leaving Certificate and got my results in August with a successful outcome. During those years I was surrounded by supportive tutors and other adult learners in the centre. This made a big difference to how well I could do on these courses. Familiarity helped me to relax on

a daily basis and enjoy the environment I attended each day. The group of people I started with in May 2001 was the same group I finished with in August 2003. The teaching centre was a place that I didn’t feel threatened or judged for having a mental illness. I also felt like I deserved my place in the centre. I say that because there is a trend to accept people with a disability in courses and employment so that society appears more inclusive and progressive. The downside of this is that the individual is recorded on paper but the supports are not put in place to make sure they stay on a course or in employment. Following the results in August 2003, I was accepted at NUI Maynooth for a three-year Bachelor of Arts degree and started a month later in September. I finished the BA in 2006 and followed it with a Masters degree in UCD. I am now a History PhD student in NUI Maynooth working to qualify with a doctorate in the next 1-2 years. Through my experiences with mental health problems I became a determined person, aware of my strengths and weaknesses. Recovery for me came with education although there are many ways that people can find satisfaction through employment, daily activities or volunteer work. Building resilience is a series of stages with success and failure integral to the process. I learned to look objectively at each stage to see what I could take from the experience to help me go further. Over time, confidence in my ability to lead an independent life grew. Those around me became confident also but it took them a little longer to adapt to the changes taking place. I recognised my limitations in the education system very quickly. My motivation can be very sporadic and my concentration is a continuous problem. If I get stressed the symptoms increase and I can’t work to the level that is expected. I need medication to relieve symptoms so I can work better but a side effect of the tablets is heavy and prolonged drowsiness. I taught myself to work around that issue by planning and time management that suits my particular situation. I learned as a teenager that the education system in Ireland is not equipped to look after my needs as a student with a mental disability so I tried to find ways to work within the system and achieve my goals. The odds were stacked against me to get through education as an adult with an enduring mental health difficulty. In September 2003, at the start of my BA, I found myself miles away from home, my family and mental health support network. This was a big environmental and emotional upheaval that I tried my


work around these issues and develop skills to cope with certain situations while working to reach my goals.

best to cope with on my own. My goal to get a degree was also the most ambitious undertaking in my life since the illness had manifested in secondary school. Straight away I found myself back in the same isolating situation as the early 1990s. This time it was different. The previous ten years’ experience of having a breakdown and coping with harsh situations had given me the strength to manage my illness and face obstacles in the university environment head-on. My expectations for getting support had greatly reduced as a result of past experiences although I would have welcomed and needed help a number of times. I try not to put unnecessary pressure on myself by comparing my experience of education to those around me because of the vast difference in what it takes to succeed between us. In earlier years I did compare my achievements and ability to others but I learned that this was holding me back from finding out what I could bring to the education system and build on those strengths. I didn’t have an example to follow or a blueprint on how to succeed in higher education with a mental illness. Apart from a small number of necessary extensions I made every deadline for the duration of the three year undergraduate degree. I am not saying I made every lecture in that time but I surrounded myself with friends who were supportive of my endeavours in the education system. In return, I was supportive of their commitment to attend all lectures and fill me in later. From a young age I learned that mental illness doesn’t automatically take away your dreams and ambitions for life nor does it make them less valid or important to how you perceive yourself as a person. Mental health problems can actually emphasise the obstacles that stand between you and your hopes and dreams. I learned that I couldn’t change the fact that I developed a mental illness or had to cope with symptoms on a regular basis alongside medication and side effects. What I could do was try to find ways to


It was an important step to accept that other people’s negative attitude to mental illness was something that I would face in my life but I had the power to ensure that this didn’t stop me from reaching my full potential. As a young person being on the receiving end of other people’s ignorance and prejudice was difficult. I was a teenager, insecure and cared what people thought of me. I quickly learned that my daily struggle with mental illness far outweighed poor judgments from people my age and older. Facing negative attitudes in earlier years gave me the strength to both question and challenge fixed ideas on what can be achieved by a person with a mental health problem. I keep in mind the words of the American author and cartoonist Dr. Seuss when he said “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” While I have been successful in returning to education, I still experience the positive and negative symptoms of my illness but I deal with them better now than when I was younger. Finding a medication that suited me was the first stepping stone for recovery. The second step came with selfawareness which really made a difference and continues to do so. Consistent support from my family and psychiatrist was the most important part of my life for a long time. Without their patience and help I would not have managed to achieve my goals. In time, my family’s caring role was replaced by my own confidence to be successful in my endeavours. This helped me to develop as a person and gave my family time to concentrate on their own lives. Over the years, I have met a lot of wonderful people through my experiences of mental health difficulties that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. I have learned positive life skills as a direct result of developing a mental illness at such a young age. I don’t dwell on what my life might have been like if it hadn’t taken a dramatic turn as a teenager. In my teenage years, I realised how imperfect we all are and that our mental health is vital to how we develop as adults. Having mental health problems is difficult but being able to recognise when your mental health is becoming a significant issue is key to your wellbeing as a whole. Appreciating good mental health is something I learned the hard way through no fault of my own or anyone else. While I wouldn’t wish my experiences on anyone, I also wouldn’t change the fact that I developed a mental illness as a young person. I learned to recognise quickly the important things in life. This allows me

to be patient and tolerant as an adult. My experiences with mental health problems have given me a good perspective and shown me how to overcome challenges. As I already mentioned, I am a full-time research student. My research topic is on Irish Free State history. The Free State in Ireland was from 1922 to 1937. I am researching the building of the County Louth Mental Home in Ardee, County Louth. It opened in 1933. It is a significant building project for this period in Irish History and my research will be the first comprehensive examination of the building. The point of telling you this is to show you how mental health problems can become a positive aspect in life. Earlier I told you that I spent a lot of time in psychiatric hospitals in the child and adult services. The County Louth Mental Home is now called Saint Brigid’s Hospital. It is the same facility that I spent many days, months and years in as a young person. While my research is not about my time in the hospital or the patients that used the facility over the years, it is interesting to share how experiences in your life can shape who you become as a person, both personally and professionally. If I had not spent time in the hospital in earlier years it may not have been on my radar for historical enquiry within the education system. I would certainly not appreciate the history of the building or the mental health services in Ireland but for my own interaction with this part of Irish society. Since I started the short VEC course back in 2001, I managed to find out what I could bring to the education system. My experiences with mental illness from a young age are not a weakness but a unique strength in my research endeavours where the ability to objectively analyse and interpret evidence is a valued skill. Lisa Butterly “My Mind Matters” Conference, 27 April 2011.

“The Me Nobody Knows” a playlet/drama by Midland Drama Schools that never dies. I am the bald eagle that rules the skies. I am the grandfather who never got to live. I am the actor that never got to act. I am the writer who never got to write. I am the fatal beauty that the dying last sees. I am a baby’s eyes when he first sees his mother. I am the happiness that goes in people. I am me, Gabriel, the light of my parents’ life. I used to be quiet, but now I have a voice.

Dear Universe, Dear World Who Am I?

I love my family. My grandfather died. I never knew how much I loved him until he died. I remember a hug my grandfather gave me. I think that was the last hug he gave anyone. He loved me, you know. I wish I knew how much I loved him, then. The last hug that he gave me was a long one – about a minute. I wish I hadn’t pushed him away. Well, I didn’t push him away, but I gave a sigh and he let go. I love him. Who am I? Gabriel Brennan. I am the elephant that roams around in the jungle with its huge body. I am the block of ice

Dear Universe, Dear World, I need a place to be right now. I feel like no one cares about me. I feel a little bit of love and a little bit of hate. But what I feel can’t take me anywhere. I feel bad on the bottom of my feet, and good on the top. I feel nobody cares. This place makes me feel like I’m in a little dark spot...I’m lost. I can’t be seen. Or I can’t see anyone’s face. I’m in my own world, my special place. So, come to this special place. Come and feel what I feel. Nothing. I can’t feel anybody loves me because there’s no one to be with me. I need a little bit of help, someone there beside me, pushing my mind. I need someone, so come with me to my special place.

The Me Nobody Knows

My parents hardly ever understand my problems because sometimes I will get in trouble like on April Fools’ Day. I would tell a teacher her toes were bleeding and then I’d get in trouble while fooling around. My mother would have to come to school and then I’d get a beating, and I’d try to make her understand that it was a joke like anyone would do. One of the teachers in this school, he’s a man. When he was walking in the hall, he would tap me on the shoulder. When I was in 7th grade two years ago, I tapped this teacher on the shoulder. I was just playing and he went down to the principal and told him I gave him a Karate Chop and then I got in trouble right then. My mother had to come to the school and I tried to explain to her I was just playing with the teacher. But she just didn’t believe me. She thinks that I can do nothing by myself.

Annual General Meeting Mental Health Ireland

The 40th Annual General Meeting of Mental Health Ireland was held on Saturday, 7th May 2011 in Mensana House, 6 Adelaide Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. The Chairman, Michael Hughes said that the environment in which Mental Health Ireland is operating for the past number years has been dominated by public fear and apprehension regarding the dramatic downturn in the economy of the country. This has required new and fresh approaches to the way Mental Health Ireland conducts business in the area of promotion of good positive mental health and supporting service users in need.

He praised the introduction of a tried and tested programme pioneered in Australia called the “Building Resilience Together” programme which formed the theme of World Mental Health Day on 10th October 2010. The basic principles of this programme are to create a notion of community activities and action not necessarily in the mental health area but to include all sections of community activities from sporting, cultural through economic and voluntary activities. The Mental Health Ireland team of Development Officers is currently actively encouraging our volunteers around the country to become involved in this direct way to educate, inform and improve

the mental health of our population. Many community fora and development organisations at a county level have been contacted and informed and are now taking action on foot of this new initiative. By concentrating on the word “resilience” people can readily understand that this term is used to equip people to bounce back from setbacks and pressures that life presents. Involvement in community, sporting and volunteering activities increases people’s resilience and therefore directly improves their mental health.


Michael Hughes also said: “As the year 2010 drew to a close, uncertainty prevailed in the political world with the intention of the then government to call an election in early 2011. Mental Health Ireland was encouraged by the pronouncements by the then leader of the biggest opposition party, Mr. Enda Kenny, T.D., when he regarded as a priority the mental health and wellbeing of our society, particularly in the area of his interest in suicide prevention. Mindful of the need to contain public service costs which is a priority and a necessity of all political parties, Mental Health Ireland will be encouraging the new government to abide by the terms of government policy enunciated in a Vision for Change in the development of a modern mental health service. Mental Health Ireland will continue to lobby the powers that be on the basis of equity and fairness in the division of financial resources towards mental health service development. Like my predecessors before me, I wish to acknowledge the great commitment and efforts by our network of volunteers spread throughout the country in implementing and carrying through the twin aims of Mental Health Ireland which is to represent the interests of those who suffer from mental health problems and their carers and the promotion of positive mental health. During my tenure as Chairman I will endeavour to ensure that all our volunteers are motivated and provide encouragement, where necessary, to ensure that their personal goals and targets are met as far as possible. I am greatly encouraged by the formation of a Young Mental Health Ireland group to represent the interests of young people in our organisation. Another very positive development in our national organisation is the joint partnership between the HSE, Headstrong and Mental Health Ireland in the provision of youth and adolescent mental health services through the Jigsaw project based in Galway City, Galway. The Jigsaw project, manned by a dynamic group of young

people to provide services for young people, has attracted much deserved national prominence in what was delivered in the Galway City and County area. Mental Health Ireland, through the employment of Jigsaw personnel and funding the lease of its current bright new premises in Galway, is very much a core partner in this initiative. We are delighted to be centrally involved in Jigsaw which has satellite initiatives in other parts of the country which Mental Health Ireland is also associated with. Looking to the future, our national organisation, like many others in the voluntary sector and indeed in the wider community, looks forward with some degree of uncertainty on where our country will be in the next twelve months and beyond. What I must focus on, as Chairman, is to provide the necessary guidance and support to the volunteers of local Mental Health Associations affiliated to Mental Health Ireland, our employees and our dedicated team of Board Members to ensure that the vital message in this time of change is heard and delivered upon to the greatest extent in these difficult times. Mental Health Ireland will continue to press for the creation and development of coherent networks of alternative community services and interventions that work in synergy with our local communities as set out in “Vision for Change”. Mental Health Ireland supports “Vision for Change” which places the individual at the centre of the system with their human and social rights and needs in a perspective which is based on the person’s whole life and on recovery from the experience of psychological stress and mental ill health. Mental Health Ireland and affiliated local Mental Health Associations will work in partnership with HSE, statutory bodies and voluntary groups in restoring pride in our country, hope in our people and resilience in our communities. Together we can comfort the sick, support recovery, listen with understanding, befriend the lonely, reach out to the marginalised, help the helpless, shelter the homeless, inform and empower, engage with common purpose on a Programme of National Recovery, that will ensure a better and sustainable future for all of our people and especially those less privileged than ourselves. There is a better way – MHI will play its part in finding it “Can we do it? Yes, we can.”


Following the AGM, Ms. Mary van Dievel, Director of Mental Health Europe (MHE) addressed the meeting. In November 1983 a meeting was held in Ghent to formally establish the European Regional Council of the World Federation for Mental Health. Representatives from European MHAs including: Denmark, Finland, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Germany and Holland attended the meeting. Mental Health Ireland received funding to set up a temporary secretariat in Dublin. Mary O’Mahony, former CEO and Brian Glanville, MHI Board member, were actively involved with helping to establish and develop Mental Health Europe. Our current CEO, Brian Howard is a member of the Board of Mental Health Europe. Ms. Van Dievel stated that MHE is a nongovernmental organisation committed to • the promotion of positive mental health and wellbeing • the prevention of mental distress • the improvement of care • advocacy for social inclusion • protection of human rights for people with mental health problems, their families and carers Mental Health Europe’s areas of work include: Mental Health and Social Policy; Mental Health Promotion and Prevention of Mental Health Problems; Mental Health, Human Rights and Disability; Committees and Task Forces and European Projects. In relation to policy work, MHE has started on a 3-year campaign (2011-2013) on the labour market inclusion of young people with mental health problems as well as contributing to the social strand of the EU 2020 Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth. They will also advocate for the inclusion of mental health, social inclusion and social protection for people with mental health problems in the National Reform Programmes. For more information on the work of Mental Health Europe visit their website at In conclusion, the Chairman, Mr. Hughes thanked Ms. Van Dievel for coming to address the AGM and congratulated Mental Health Europe who celebrated their 25th anniversary in November 2010.

New section on MHI Website: Healthy Eating for a Healthy Mind

In February 2011, Mental Health Ireland was approached by Karl Moore, a professional chef, who suggested creating a separate section on our website that would be devoted to promoting healthy eating options. Karl already had some experience of working with people suffering from mental health difficulties when he and Patrick O’Connor from Dundalk Mental Health Association organised a 10-week cookery course in O’Fiaich Institute of Further Education in Dundalk (more details about the course are available on MHI website). Karl kindly volunteered to draft a few recipes that would be suitable for everyone but also for those on medication and dealing with mental health issues. As a result of this co-operation Healthy Eating for a Healthy Mind came to existence. It features some advice on how to achieve a balanced diet and links to Mental Health Foundation’s publications where the connection between what we eat and how we feel is explained in detail. It also features a selection of recipes prepared by Karl. These will be updated regularly. Here is just one of the recipes you can find on the website. Bon Appetit!

Amalfi-Style Chicken Recipe by chef Karl Moore Ingredients (serves 4): • 1 whole chicken (butterfly cut) • 20g flat parsley, leaves onlya • 20g oregano, leaves only

Method: 1.

Split the chicken down the back and remove backbone (ask your local butcher to do this for you, if you prefer). Then flatten the chicken and chill in fridge.


In a clean bowl mix the parsley, oregano, rosemary, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Let this sit for 1 hour or overnight for flavours to infuse.


Preheat the oven to 200°C.


Rub the chicken with the herb mixture and salt & pepper. Lay the chicken down on a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place a piece of greaseproof paper on top of the chicken.


Now, place another baking tray on top of that. Put a heavy cast-iron lid or weight on top of the baking tray and place in the oven. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes till cooked fully. Serve with a healthy green salad.

• 20g rosemary, leaves only • 4 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste • zest of one lemon • 1 tbsp lemon juice • 20ml olive oil • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

"Karl's Kitchen Flavours" - Resident Chef of Dundalk FM 100


Regional Express Eastern Region Athy MHA Ms. Carmel Kelly retired during 2010 after 10 years as Chairperson of Athy MHA. At a presentation to Carmel in April 2010, attended by Mr. Brian Howard, CEO, MHI, Athy MHA congratulated Carmel, her family and friends for their efforts in promoting the Association and fundraising in Athy, especially by organising raffles at Christmas and Easter. Athy MHA is delighted that Carmel, while no longer in the role of Chairperson, is still involved in the work of the Association.

Bray MHA continued its weekly social club where various creative and social activities take place with the help of Siobhan, Michelle and Ann. During their annual outing, the 8 members led by Ann, had a very enjoyable time as they explored the local hospitality in Carlow.

Wicklow MHA continued with their extensive range of activities, organised by Charlie Burke with the help of Anna, Michaela, Evelyn, Hilda and others, which included a series of interesting talks on a range of mental health related topics such as: • Recognising and Coping with Panic Attacks by Ita Kelly • The Plastic Brain and Depression by Dr. Harry Barry • The Resolving Book series by Fiona McCauslan which include titles on Anger, Bereavement and Sibling Rivalry

Athy MHA volunteers and their Easter Egg Raffle 2011 (L-R): Christy Brogan, Ber Philips, Carmel Kelly, Hazel Thompson, Tony Heffernan.

Weekly Bingo, due to commence later in 2011 and to be run over a few months, is a new fundraising event for the local branch, which will be organised by Christy Brogan. The MHA wishes to acknowledge all the continued support Christy and his family have provided over their long years of service to Athy Association. Other activities that Athy MHA is involved in include mental health promotion, organising a Christmas Party for service users, funding social activities and providing a people carrier for social outings for the users of the Athy Day Hospital and the Castledermot Day Centre. The MHA is also part-funding and supporting a Stress Control Programme to be run by HSE staff starting in September.


• Bullying - The Impact on Children and Adolescents and a talk on ADHD by Dr. Keith Holmes. It is worth noting that Wicklow MHA has its own website www. wicklow which provides a list of upcoming talks and other useful information. Suicide awareness featured heavily this quarter with both a safeTALK and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) course being provided. Michael Noble, MHI Development Officer, facilitated the safeTALK session. The ASIST training, presented over a weekend to 20 local people from Wicklow, was co-facilitated by Michael and Lisa Betts. Anna, assisted by others, continued the weekly social club which provided a number of outings and activities including weaving and Photoshop workshops.

Dun Laoghaire MHA volunteers continued their support to the members of the successful Troy Social Club who meet every Friday night in Dalkey. Music, laughter, conversation and a hotly contested pool tournament are a permanent feature at the Club. If there are any keen pool players out there they are welcome to come and play. The local Art group continues to be successful and a venue for a second group is being sought. The MHA held their traditional Christmas dinner in January in a local restaurant and plans are being put in place for a summer trip into the Dublin Mountains.

Arklow MHA continues its activities for attendees at Portview. In addition, Barbara Duffy, MHA volunteer, together with teachers, local youth and voluntary work staff are actively developing the 2nd Annual Youth Mental Health Week in October 2011. Due to its huge success in 2010, the HSE have offered assistance with this year’s event. The Association said goodbye to its chairperson, Patsy Gallagher, on his retirement. Patsy played a key role in maintaining Arklow MHA over the years and we acknowledge with thanks his contribution and wish him well in the future. The MHA, led by Jim, Samantha, Ann and others, will continue on Patsy’s work.

Vergemount & District MHA promoted mental health through information events and continued its key activity of providing small monetary grants to persons managing an enduring mental illness. The Association, in as much as its resources allow, endeavours to meet the increased demand as the economic difficulties continue.

Fingal MHA continues to work with the Balbriggan Youth Wellbeing Project to enhance the mental health of local young people. Plans are underway for a series of youth focused events which will be supported by the MHA.

Midland Region Birr & Rathdowney MHA co-hosted a Table Quiz at the Birr Community Mental Health Centre for service users and residents in Erkina House. The evening was sponsored by TESCO Tullamore.

Presentation of a cheque for €1,000 from Birr Lions Club to Birr MHA (L-R): Josephine Burke, Bríd Ní Chonaill, Margaret Cappindale, Jacqui Coneely, Chairperson, Birr MHA; Willie Burns, President, Birr Lions Club; Paul Lynch, Claire Hernon, Secretary, Birr MHA and Finola Colgan, MHI Development Officer.

Longford MHA held their monthly “Birthday Bash” for persons celebrating their special day. The MHA, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Family Affairs (DSWFA) together with Longford VEC, also provided a threeway education programme for service users attending the Community Mental Health Centre in the area of computers, singing and cooking. Ms. Ann Holt, DSWFA presented certificates to all participants. Longford MHA also co-ordinated a ladies team for the Dublin City Mini Marathon and raised funds for the Association. Congratulations and many thanks to all the ladies who took part in the event!

Portarlington MHA hosted a public talk on Building Resilience Together which was held in the Community Centre. The guest speaker was Finola Colgan, MHI Development Officer for the Midland Region.

Tullamore MHA hosted their annual public lecture given by Professor Patricia Casey, Consultant Psychiatrist, Mater Hospital and Irish Independent Health Supplement columnist. This year’s theme was “The Importance of Mental Health in your Daily Life.” Over 160 attended the lecture which was chaired by Laura Geraghty, Chaiperson, Tullamore MHA. The Association was also presented with a Certificate of Recognition for their voluntary work in Tullamore by Ms. Molly Buckley, Chairperson, Tullamore Urban District Council (UDC). The Certificate was accepted by Laura Geraghty, Chairperson and Anne Burns, Honorary Secretary on behalf of their MHA at a special function organised by Tullamore UDC and held in the Town Hall.

MHI Midlands and Mental Health Matters During the school academic year, Mental Health Matters was delivered, in partnership with the HSE, to senior schools and other groups, including students in Moate Business College. Over 1,200 Mental Health Matters certificates were awarded to students throughout the four Midland counties. The MHI Regional Office also worked in partnership with GROW in the delivery of their Gateway Keepers Mental Health Community Education programme. Finola Colgan, MHI Development Officer, delivered a workshop “Understanding your Mental Health” in Mullingar, Athlone, Longford and Borris in Ossory. Finola also delivered “Understanding Mental Health in the Workplace” as part of GROW´s “Mental Health in the Workplace Programme for Employers” in Portlaoise, Tullamore and Mullingar.

North Eastern Region Navan MHA

Busking in Navan in December 2010

Members of Navan MHA who took part in a special celebration of busking in Navan during December 2010.

Navan MHA has had another very active year under the leadership of Margot Davis, Chairperson and her voluntary committee. They run a Social Club in Leighsbrook Lane twice a week, with an average attendance of 50 people. They recently enjoyed a week’s holiday in Westport, Co. Mayo. World Mental Health Day 2010 was marked with a special concert in the Newgrange Hotel featuring the best in local talent and attracting several hundred guests, as did Navan MHA’s annual Christmas Party. The Garda Band will perform a concert to help raise funds for the Association on Tuesday, 6th September 2011 and Navan MHA’s own choir hope to perform on this occasion too. The Association also enjoys support from the High Nellie Cycle each St. Patrick’s Day, and will benefit too from the proceeds of Navan Fair Day on June Bank Holiday weekend, further highlighting the respect in which they are held within the local community.

Ladies who did the Mini Marathon for Longford MHA


Bailieborough MHA Conference "Suicide - A Community Response"

Pictured before the morning session of Bailieborough MHA's recent conference "Suicide - A Community Response" are (L-R): Dr. Paddy Halligan, local GP; Peter McKenna, retired Psychiatric Nurse and Bailieborough MHA committee member; George Hook, Seán McKiernan Jnr., MHI Development Officer, North East Region and Winston Turner, Chairman, Bailieborough MHA.

The tragic topic of suicide was discussed with great empathy and consideration at a special conference organised by Bailieborough MHA on Saturday, 21st May. The conference through its speakers, exhibition space, workshops and Questions & Answers sessions sought to provide information for empowerment and action and to examine what communities can do for themselves. The conference was open to all individuals, organisations and groups, locally and regionally, who were concerned about suicide in the local community. The conference through its speakers, exhibition space, workshops and Questions & Answers sessions sought to examine what communities can do for themselves and provide information for empowerment and action. It also highlighted the range of training available through the HSE, including a half-day SafeTALK programme and a two-day ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) workshop. Renowned Irish broadcaster, journalist, Rugby Union pundit and, by his own admission, failed businessman, George Hook, officially opened the conference and spoke about his own experience with depression and thoughts of suicide. He felt that a lack of good self-esteem and self-fulfilment were key elements to unhappiness in life. The importance of a job or activity that one actually enjoys doing was highlighted in his positive address, which greatly lifted the spirits of delegates at the start of the day and set the tone for a productive conference.


“Doing a job you enjoy is key.” George Hook

Other speakers included local GP, Dr. Paddy Halligan, who has 25 years’ experience in family practice. He published a thesis on ‘The Impact of Suicide on GPs’ in 2000 for the British Journals of GPs and was on the East Cavan ‘Mind Yourself’ project team for 6 years. His address focused on warning signs and building resilience, especially in young people. Barbara Brennan, aged 29, of Ashbourne in County Meath, got the conference going again after lunch with a powerful address, drawn from self-experience with manic depression. She stressed the benefits of her own Wellness Recovery Action Plan which has helped change her daily life in recent years. She got married earlier this year. She is now an Ambassador for See Change, the national anti-stigma campaign for mental health. Declan Behan, CEO, Irish Association of Suicidology also addressed the conference on “Myths and Facts” around suicide. He previously worked with the National Office for Suicide Prevention and, before the health sector, he worked in private industry with two multinational corporations.

Monaghan MHA announced the winners of its Post-Primary Art Project at a ceremony in the Westenra Arms Hotel. This year’s theme, “Hope for the Future”, resulted in some very thoughtful and outstanding entries from Colaiste Oiriall, Inver College, Castleblayney College and St. Louis Convent. MHI Development Officer, Seán McKiernan, who was Master of Ceremonies for the night, began by introducing members of the local MHA prior to the presentations by Chairperson, Margaret Fleming. Merit Winners are: Colaiste Oiriall: Aoife Ní Roideain and Sarah Nic Thighearnan Inver College: Adeane Kindlon and Klaudia Dabrowska Castleblayney College: Therese Donaghy and Megan O Dwyer St. Louis Convent: Aoife Evans and Rebecca Fanning Monaghan Collegiate: Cheryl Rowntree and Lauren Nolan Well done to all concerned!

Between the main sessions, delegates enjoyed the choice of 2 out of 4 workshops; Living Links, Stigma Reduction and Training, SOSAD (Save Our Sons and Daughters) and the Le Cheile Support Group. Bailieborough MHA Chairman, Winston Turner, and MHI Regional Development Officer, Seán McKiernan opened and closed the conference on behalf of the local voluntary organising committee, to whom great credit is due.

"Hope for the Future" Monaghan MHA PostPrimary Schools Art Project

(L-R) Seán McKiernan, MHI Development Officer; Margaret Fleming, Chairperson, Monaghan MHA presenting an award to Sarah Nic Thighearnan.

West Cavan Spring Fair The West Cavan Spring Fair, organised by Cavan Community and Voluntary Forum with other local partners, and inspired by MHI’s Building Resilience Together Programme, took place on 2nd April from 12 to 6 p.m. in St. Mogue’s College in Bawnboy. It was officially opened by Brian Howard, CEO, Mental Health Ireland.

Sarah Nic Thighearnan's artwork (Colaiste Oiriall, Monaghan) - one of the merit winners.

Approximately 100 people attended the Fair which included information stalls of local groups, clubs and organisations, such as; the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS); Living Links suicide prevention service and ANGELS, a family support group for people experiencing addiction in their family; Cavan Civil Defence; Men on the Border project; Killeshandra Knitting Group;

Cavan Community Radio; The 1825 Project which provides training for 18-25-year-olds and Joan’s Animal Rescue Centre fundraising shop. The following workshops were held during the course of the day: Financial advice, Reflexology, Old Style Clay Brick Making, Mental Health Advice, Meditation, Singing, Reducing Stigma associated with Depression and Time Banking – a system of exchanging local services with time rather than money. The event included Drumming from ‘Sambanova’ a local Samba band, and mini concerts by Together One Voice community choir and The Janzens a cappella group. Catering was provided by Jampa Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre. The organising steering group for the event was: Sandy Holland, Local Community Development Project (LCDP); Kate Ennals and Declan Fitzpatrick, Cavan Community Forum; Daniel Downey and Finian McNamara, Community Resilience Cavan; Peggy Gray, Belturbet Town Council; Finian O’Brien, HSE Mental Health Services; Seán McKiernan, Mental Health Ireland and Emar Covney, Cavan County Council.

Breffni MHA, Carrick-on-Shannon Breffni MHA had a very active year in 2010 having focused their energies on two great initiatives targeting the local schools. GTI Social Club members on their trip to Enniskillen

Inside Serenity House ECDL Course Moville MHA once again sponsored a European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) course for children in Serenity House which is an approved national training centre.

The steering group would like to thank all individuals, groups and organisations who contributed to the day or helped in the preparation in the run-up to the event.

North Western Region The Get Together Inishowen Club This Mental Health Ireland Social Club is very active and has 50 members from a wide geographic spread within Inishowen. The GTI club meets on a monthly basis and is supported by the HSE West Worklink North West Support Service. Recently, members had a very pleasurable trip to Enniskillen where they stayed in the Killyhavlin Hotel. The hospitality provided was exceptional and the food was superb. Many of the members enjoyed the spa and leisure centre as well as the walks around the lake. Having shopped in the town, the group took a tour of the Marble Arch Caves and Florence Court House. The whole trip was a very positive experience and a source of great fun and laughter for all with many sincere friendships made.

A group of children receiving their ECDL certificates

Fitness Club Serenity House runs a fitness club every Monday morning to encourage people in the Moville area to keep fit and healthy as well as to socialise. Offering to give blood pressure readings to members of the club has proved helpful in keeping their interest in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels…not easy in today’s fast paced world!

The MHA decided to run an art, essay and poetry competition for 5th and 6th class pupils in four local national schools. Children were invited to submit essays, drawings or poetry with the title “The Happiest Day of My Life”. A total of 71 entries were received and the judges were very impressed with the enthusiasm and high standard of all the entries. All entrants received a certificate for their participation in the competition. The top three entries from each school gathered at the Bush Hotel on April 29th last to receive their prizes of gift vouchers for a local sports shop and each school was presented with a Leitrim Crystal trophy to display in their schools. On behalf of Breffni MHA, Mr. Joe Mc Elhone congratulated the children and spoke about the common theme in all of their essays and artwork - someone in their lives had done something special for them to make it the happiest day of their life. There was a clear message that we should remember that we can each do something nice to make someone’s day a little happier. Breffni MHA would like to thank all those who entered the competition, the teachers and parents for their support and the Bush Hotel. Breffni MHA received very positive feedback on the project and hope to make this an annual event and extend it to more schools next year.

Prize winners from the Marist Girls National School, Carrick-on-Shannon (L-R): Grainne Gibbons, 1st Prize winner; Sr. Nora Burke, Committee member, Breffni MHA; Megan Melia, 2nd Prize winner and Brygida Szalwa, 3rd Prize winner.

A group of walkers from the Serenity House Fitness Club getting their blood pressure taken before heading out for a walk


“The North West Mental Health Alliance” is a network of local voluntary and community groups and organisations with a specific interest and commitment in actively promoting positive mental health and well-being in our community”

Pupils from St. Joseph's National School, Leitrim Village (L-R): Mathew Blake, 1st Prize winner; Hazel Drury, 3rd Prize winner; Mary Carroll, Honorary Secretary Breffni MHA and Thomas Harden, 2nd Prize winner.

Not to forget the local post-primary schools, some members of Breffni MHA came up with the idea of developing an information leaflet for teenagers. The leaflet contains details of various resources available to young people, both on the internet and in their local area, should they ever run into any problems or need information on issues which may affect them. The project was further developed when four of the local postprimary schools agreed to include the information in the school journals 2010/11. This way, the information is readily available to all students every time they open their journal!

North West Mental Health Alliance (Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim) Directory of Community Groups and Services

Due to the changing nature of social roles and the effect of the economic downturn, we are growing increasingly aware of the impact in our communities. It was quickly realised that within the Alliance, there is a lot of work going on in communities dealing directly with issues that impact on maintaining positive mental health. However, it was clear that information on this work was not always reaching health professionals, carers and others who may benefit from such knowledge. Groups need to know of each other’s aims and activities in order to provide good advice and information to their own community and clients, hence the development of a Directory of Community Groups and Services was undertaken. The completed Directory provides the most up-to-date information available and is designed to be a working document. Information contained within the Directory includes: • Introductory section on looking after your mental health • Details of over 220 community organisations in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim • Details of HSE services in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim • Details of National Voluntary and Other Non-Statutory Services • Synopsis of The Mental Health Act 2001

County Sligo Person of the Year In 2010, Sligo Mental Health Association celebrated the Sligo Person of the Year silver jubilee marking a significant milestone for one of Sligo’s most prestigious awards. Since its inauguration in 1986, this award has given recognition to people who make a significant contribution to Sligo society through voluntary work in their local areas. In every town and village in the county there are those who give so much of their time for the betterment of their community. Often undervalued by society, the Person of the Year awards were a way to give recognition to these people. These usually include sports clubs, voluntary organisations, charities, self-help groups, community development groups, amateur dramatics, etc. in County Sligo. Nominations were made via the Sligo Champion newspaper or through Sligo MHA. An adjudicating committee chose ten people to receive a community award, one of whom was to be named the County Sligo Person of the Year at the annual gala event. In 2010, as the event celebrated 25 years of volunteering in County Sligo, each voluntary group in the county was invited to attend and also each recipient of the Person of the Year award was invited back and presented with a special gift. These awards were organised by Sligo MHA, promoted by the Sligo Champion newspaper and were generously sponsored by Sligo Credit Union, Sligo Park Hotel and HSE West.

750 copies of the directory have been distributed to the community and statutory services in the region and work is currently in progress to make this directory a web-based document, accessible to all. Many thanks to all individuals/organisations involved in bringing the directory to fruition. Present at the Sligo Person of the Year annual gala (L-R): Mr. Jimmy Devins, T.D.; Marian Harkin, MEP; Sligo Mayor, Matt Lyons; Pat Dolan, Local Health Manager - Sligo/Leitrim/ West Cavan.

Copy of North West Mental Health Alliance Directory of Community Groups and Services


Sligo Seminar "Minding Your Mind in Tough Times", 3rd May 2011

Southern Region Rachel Reilly, MHI Development Officer, Sligo/ Leitrim with Dr. Ed O'Mahony, Consultant Psychiatrist, Sligo Mental Health Services and Mark O'Callaghan, Principal Psychologist, Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan.

Sligo Seminar "Minding Your Mind in Tough Times"

The recession is affecting our mental health and more people are suffering from psychological problems since the economic downturn. In an effort to give guidance to people experiencing mental health problems as a result of the current economic difficulties, Sligo/Leitrim Development Officer, Rachel Reilly and the Research and Education Foundation, a charity based at Sligo General Hospital, teamed up with Principal Psychologist, Mark O’Callaghan, to organise an open public meeting on the issue entitled “Minding Your Mind in Tough Times – Protecting your mental health in the recession” in the Clarion Hotel, Sligo. A large crowd turned out to listen to Mr. O’Callaghan talk about how the recession can trigger mental health problems as a result of job loss, emigration, financial worries, etc. He also outlined how to build resilience and manage stress. Dr. Ed O’Mahony, Consultant Psychiatrist, Sligo Mental Health Services chaired the event and facilitated a questions and answers session. Among some of the main concerns coming to the fore were; the lack of education around mental and emotional health from a young age and also the lack of 24-hour services available for people who may find themselves in distress. Information stands from various organisations were set up outside the conference room and people were able to avail of the many leaflets and talk to staff from the different organisations. All in all, the evening was very successful and thanks are extended to the main sponsors, Sligo Mental Health Association and Lundbeck Ireland for their contribution.

Sligo Mental Health Association Memorial It is with deep sadness that Sligo Mental Health Association lost one of its founders and most active members with the passing of Mary Sweeney on the 8th March 2010, aged 88 years. Mary’s commitment and dedication to the Association was remarkable and Mary was a regular face at their monthly meetings right up until her illness took hold in 2010. Some of the many activities Mary so kindly gave her time to included weekly visitations to hospital and monthly dances in the outpatient facility, taking patients to visit the homes of volunteers for tea and many fundraising events, e.g. Church Gate collections. For 15 years she did a Santa gift and photoshoot for 3 weeks in December as well as organised and delivered Christmas gifts for clients in group homes and hospital. Mary enjoyed and treasured the friendships, laughs and working with her fellow volunteers and will be fondly remembered by all who knew her. Mary’s memory lives on in Sligo MHA through her daughter, Ann Rolf, who is the current chairperson. R.I.P. Mary!

Born to Run IT Tralee Marathon Club donates �2,000 to Kerry MHA On 1st May 2011, the first 13 members of the Born to Run Institute of Technology (IT) Tralee Marathon Club successfully completed the full 26.2 miles of the Great Limerick Run. For 12 of the runners this was their first ever marathon experience. The Club’s trainer, Marcus Howlett, Adventure Tourism, is an experienced marathon runner. The Club kindly donated the proceeds raised from their run to Kerry Mental Health Association, the value of which amounted to €2,000. Dan O’Connor, MHI Development Officer, accepted this incredibly generous gift on behalf of the Association.

At the cheque presentation. Front row (L-R): Dan O'Connor, Marcus Howlett, Moira Horgan and Catrina Heffernan. Back row (L-R): Brian Hayden, Maeve Ryan, Emer Thompson, Gerardina Harnett, Anne Cleary, Mary O Sullivan and Anna Marie Greaney.

Mary Sweeney


the theme of this year’s festival Positive Mental Health. This meant that the films shown and the workshops given (such as Drama) would all be based on promoting positive mental health. For this, we printed flyers that included our steps to achieving good mental health; “Exercise, take metime, and talk about your problems”.

South Eastern Region Brian Cody-Keynote Speaker at South Eastern Regional Consultative Meeting A Regional Consultative Meeting for MHAs in the South Eastern Region, hosted by Kilkenny MHA, was held in Kilkenny on Thursday, 24th February 2011 and was chaired by Christina Hickey, Honorary Secretary. The event was very well attended with representatives from all regional MHAs present. The keynote address was given by Mr. Brian Cody, Manager of the Senior Kilkenny Hurling Team. His speech was interesting, motivating, passionate and had the audience riveted to their seats. Linda Thorpe, MHI Development Officer, made a presentation to Brian Cody on behalf of Mental Health Ireland.

(L-R): Linda Thorpe, MHI Development Officer, Alice Doyle, Wexford MHA, Brian Cody, Maureen McCafferty, Wexford MHA, Ted Tierney, Deputy CEO, MHI, Evelyn Moulton, Peadar Moulton and Francis Murphy, Wexford MHA

Re-launch of West Waterford MHA At a meeting on 15th March 2011 in the Park Hotel Dungarvan, West Waterford MHA was re-launched. A large group of people interested in the initiative were in attendance. Linda Thorpe, Development Officer for South Eastern Region was present and provided an overview of Mental Health Ireland and explanation on the role of an MHA. An election of Management Committee took place afterwards with Ms Marie Doherty elected as a Chairperson and Ms Noelle Conway as an Honorary Secretary of the MHA. Treasurer is to be elected at a later date.


Mental Health Ireland would like to express sincere congratulations and wish the newly re-established MHA all success in the future!

Members of the newly formed West Waterford MHA together with Linda Thorpe, MHI Development Officer

Young Innovators' Project - St. Mary's Secondary School, New Ross, Co. Wexford It's Mental Health, Not Illness Once upon a time, Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion made a journey to the Land of Oz. Although they faced many difficulties along the way, these four friends kept on going, finally reaching their destination and finding their greatest desires fulfilled. Today, they are back, and with a message: "Follow the Yellow Brick Road... to Good Mental Health!" The Transition Year class 4.1 believe that everybody should be aware of their own mental health. Unfortunately, a lot of people associate mental health with mental illness, when in fact “mental health” means the exact opposite. It is something that we all have, and all need to be aware of.

We have become involved with the First Years in our school and have arranged to walk in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in our town. We have made business cards including our project logo and the contact numbers for some organisations such as Teenline and the Samaritans. We are excited about this event, as it will allow us to reach even further into the community. We plan to hold an Awareness Day later in the year, to show the students of our school how they can take care of their own mental health, hopefully rounding off our project well and ensuring that we have made our message very clear. If you are worried that you or somebody you know is being affected by a mental illness, there are a number of people out there who are ready to help you. You can talk to Childline (1800 666666) or the Samaritans (1850 609090). Support can also be reached through texting the word HeadsUp to 50424. Other organisations relating to mental health include Mental Health Ireland (www.mentalhealthireland. ie) and Shine ( Remember: Exercise…Take Me-Time…Talk about your problems. Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Good Mental Health.

Your mental health affects your way of looking at yourself, at others, and at the world around you. To make taking care of your mental health easier, Follow the Yellow Brick Road has devised a four-step plan: 1. Take the time to relax.

2. Lead a healthy lifestyle.

3. Talk about your problems.

4. Be informed about mental health, knowing when to get help. Working with Linda Thorpe from Mental Health Ireland, Follow the Yellow Brick Road aims to share with the world a different view on the subject of mental health. It’s Mental Health – Not Illness! We held a raffle, in which we hid some special Gold Stars in our personally prepared bags of jellies to our fellow students. We were delighted when so many local businesses were willing to donate prizes to our cause. We became involved in our school’s Arts Week. We got permission to make

Students from St. Mary's Secondary School, New Ross, Co. Wexford

Western Region Galway MHA In November 2010, Galway MHA opened its 7-bedroom house at Ros an Glas which is now at full occupancy. The house, managed by agency staff and supported by the HSE, was filled within two months of opening. It has 7 single rooms, 3 bathrooms upstairs and 2

toilets downstairs. The service users who occupy the house have settled in and are delighted with their new accommodation. In December, Galway MHA supported the annual Service Users Christmas Party which was held in the Menlo Park Hotel in conjunction with the Galway Mental Health Services. 44 service users attended as well as some of the MHA volunteers. There was music and dancing after the meal. The day was enjoyed by all. This year, due to recessionary times, Galway MHA decided to give a €20 voucher for a local supermarket to all the residents in their houses at Christmas. The MHA have also been very busy upgrading their houses recently. They availed of the Home Energy Saving (HES) scheme from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), where an increased level of insulation has been provided to all their houses. They also fitted new wooden floors and repainted their five flatlets, two of which were fitted with new kitchens.

Tuam and District MHA In early March, Tuam and District Mental Health Association (TDMHA) opened their new Information Centre. The establishment of the office marked a new and exciting departure for TDMHA. The Association have long been aware of the need to provide easily accessible information and education on mental health issues, mental health promotion and local support services to the community. The Information Centre is centrally located in Tuam Town and is currently staffed by individuals from the Community Employment Scheme and volunteers. The Centre has a wide range of information and literature on all aspects of mental health including information on local mental health services and how to access them. Individuals can visit the Information Centre on a drop-in basis or contact the Centre by email/telephone. The Information Centre, through its links with the various support organisations and services has up-to-date information on all local and national mental health events available to the public. TDMHA, through the work of the Information Centre, have strengthened established links with local support services, while in tandem building new links with local and national organisations such as Shine, Aware, and Console. Most recently, TDMHA, in conjunction with the Tuam Parish Council, secured a meeting space in the community for the Domestic Violence Outreach Service (supported by Waterside House Women’s Refuge, Galway City).

Another important activity carried out in the Information Centre is the sourcing of funds to support TDMHA’s work within the community. The Vocational Educational Committee (VEC) recently awarded TDMHA the funds to carry out a series of Art Therapy sessions. These sessions will be open to the public and to those identified through other services such as the HSE Adult Mental Health Services. It has been an exciting few months for TDMHA and we hope that the new Information Centre and the services it offers to the local community will continue to expand and thrive into the future.

Ballinasloe MHA Ballinasloe MHA held a coffee morning in Gullanes Hotel, Ballinalsoe, on Tuesday, 8th March. On 4th April the MHA held a public talk at the above venue, entitled ‘Life in the Golden Years- Exploring the Rewards and Challenges’. The guest speaker on the night was Prof. Greg Swanwick, Consultant Psychiatrist in the Psychiatry of Old Age and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry. The evening was chaired by Dr. Sabina Fahy, Consultant Psychiatrist, Galway Mental Health Services. The talk was very upbeat and positive, highlighting the positive aspects to aging and the great achievements of those in old age. There was great interest in the event with almost 60 people in attendance. The Ballinasloe branch of the Soroptimists has kindly nominated Ballinasloe MHA as their charity of the year.

Ballinasloe and Mountbellew MHA Service users from Ballinasloe and Mountbellew joined up again to have their annual Christmas Party which was held in Hayden’s Hotel, Ballinasloe, with 70 people in attendance, including a number of guests. The function, greatly enjoyed by everyone, was supported by both Ballinasloe and Mountbellew MHA. In April this year, 20 Service users and 3 service providers went to Bundoran for a four-day/three-night break. Both Ballinasloe and Mountbellew MHA donated funds towards the trip.

Clifden MHA Clifden MHA supported the annual Christmas Party which was held at The Alcock and Brown Hotel on Thursday, 6th January. The party, which was planned for December, was postponed to this date due to the inclement weather. This enjoyable event was attended by approximately 45 service users as well as some of their families. The MHA has also supported various day trips to local beauty spots for service users.

An Taoiseach Launches Jigsaw Galway’s New Hub

Jigsaw Galway’s new building

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has officially launched a new hub for Jigsaw Galway, a free and confidential service for young people (aged 15 – 25) with emerging mental health difficulties, so that mental illness can be prevented. The new Jigsaw Galway hub is on Fairgreen Road, Galway City. The size of the building allows the service to increase engagement with community organisations and expand the services provided to young people. The Jigsaw service, the first of its kind in Ireland, is based on international best practice from Australia, America and the UK.  Jigsaw Galway started operating from smaller premises on Mary Street, Galway, on 1st December 2008, and has served more than 1,500 people since its inception. John Fitzmaurice, Programme Manager, Jigsaw Galway, says; “We quickly outgrew our original space. This move has enabled us to co-locate with other services and make a 40% reduction in rental and running costs. It also places us in the heart of the city, opposite the Coach Station in a ground floor open space. This is where youth mental health services should be…out in the open.”

Loughrea MHA Loughrea MHA supported the Service Users Christmas Party with over 40 service users attending the event in the O’Dea’s Hotel, Loughrea. Music on the day was performed by Paul Boyle.

(L-R) John Fitzmaurice, Jigsaw Galway; An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Jennifer Corbett and Marie Hehir, Jigsaw Galway.


Speaking at the official launch of Jigsaw Galway’s new premises, Mary Ann Larkin, Chair of the Youth Advisory Panel said she was proud of her involvement in the development of Jigsaw Galway. “We feel that Galway and the West have really led the way in youth mental health and, as young people, we’re excited that what began here two and a half years ago is now being rolled out in other communities in Ireland.”

• Over 1,100 people have accessed the services of Jigsaw Galway in its first two years

health. 30 members of the public attended and MHI stands and leaflets were on display.

• 50% of the young people accessing Jigsaw are young males, which is remarkable given that males are traditionally poor help-seekers. John Fitzmaurice, Jigsaw Galway Programme Manager, stated that President McAleese’s visit to the service was a celebration of what Jigsaw Galway had achieved so far, and of the exciting move to a building on Fairgreen Road. Mr. Fitzmaurice described the new building as “a huge opportunity to broaden our work with the community and to expand the services that we offer to young people in Galway City and County.”

(L-R) An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Thelma Sugrue

At the launch of Art Gallery: "What Makes Me Happy". Back row: (L-R): Barbara Wild, Kate Molly, Dick O'Donovan, Maree Dillon, Katie Jones, Caoilian Beirne, Nuala Flannery, Sofie Donnellen, Siobhan Dwan and Cllr Michael Creighton. Front row (L-R): Marie Hanmore, Myra Walshe, MHI Development Officer; Dr Greg Kelly, Castlerea MHA; Mandy Taylor, Aine Taylor, Aine Keenan and Ailish Connelly.

and Nicola Morley.

One young person who used the service said; “Jigsaw taught me that I had the strength to get through a dark time when I had honestly given up on myself.” President Mary McAleese with members of the Jigsaw Galway Youth Panel

Minister of State Kathleen Lynch TD visits Jigsaw Galway

(L-R) Martin Rogan, HSE; Bob Illback, Headstrong; Ted Tierney, Mental Health Ireland and Clare O’Neill, Jigsaw Galway.

President McAleese visits Jigsaw Galway Jigsaw Galway was privileged to welcome President Mary McAleese to the service on 11th January 2011. President McAleese described Jigsaw Galway as a service that is “helping young people to get the best out of themselves… to lose that sense of self-doubt…to introduce them to their strong selves, their best selves.” Most importantly, President McAleese paid tribute to those who have used the service: “I want to thank, in particular, those young people who have come through the door… to those who had the courage, thanks a million… we need you to tell [other young people] about this place.”


The Youth Panel also presented President McAleese with the first copy of Jigsaw’s Progress Report highlighting the achievements of the service in its first two years. These include:

On Saturday, 16th April Minister Kathleen Lynch TD visited the new Jigsaw Galway building at Fairgreen Road, Galway. There she met members of the Jigsaw Galway Management Group including Mr. Ted Tierney, Deputy CEO, MHI; Mr. John Fitzmaurice, Programme Manager, Jigsaw Galway; Mr. Adrian Ahern, General Manager, GMHS; Dr. Margaret O’ Grady, Consultant Psychiatrist, GMHS/ Acting Clinical Director, EGHS; and Marian Monteiro, Clinical Supervisor, Jigsaw Galway. The Minister was very impressed with the way the service is delivered, exemplifying successful partnership between the statutory and non-statutory services.

Castlerea MHA Launch of an Art Gallery

The Association, in partnership with Foróige Neighbourhood Youth Projects (NYP), recently launched the Art Gallery of young people’s art and digital photography themed “What Makes Me Happy.” The event was sponsored by the MHA and Dr. Greg Kelly, MHA Chairman spoke on the importance of good mental

"Make a Poster" Prize Winners (L-R): Liam Beirne, Brandon Hanmore, Brendan O Brien, Chloe Murray and Katie McIntyre.

Photo Competition Winners: Aine Keenan and Caoilionn Beirne.

Level 3 Kayaking Foróige participants were recently presented with Level 3 Kayaking Certificates in Castlerea. This project, sponsored by the MHA, is in partnership with Foroige Castlerea NYP. When participants have reached Level 7, they will be qualified to train their peers. Dr. Greg Kelly and MHI Development Officer for the Region, Myra Walshe spoke about the connection between good mental health and physical activities at the presentation of the certificates.

that there were people out there who cared and who were prepared to help. Also in attendance were: Christina McHugh, Editor of the Roscommon Herald; Bishop of Achonry, Most Rev. Dr. Brendan Kelly and Myra Walshe, MHI Development Officer.

Level 3 Kayaking course participants

Roscommon MHA Roscommon MHA together with Roscommon Sports Partnership organised a 10km Mote Park Walk entitled “Be Active.” It attracted over 55 people. Refreshments were served afterwards in the Girlguides Centre. MHI Development Officer, Myra Walshe, the Assistant Chair of the Roscommon MHA and the Co-ordinator of the Sports Partnership spoke to the participants after the walk. October 7th saw the Launch of an Art and Digital Photography Exhibition “Picture of Health” in the County Library Roscommon. The exhibits displayed were produced by local HSE service users and were sponsored by the MHA and the Roscommon Integrated Development Company (RIDC). Up to 100 members of the public attended. The Development Officer spoke about World Mental Health Day and how the exhibition of creative art links in with the theme of Building Resilience. The MHI stand and leaflets were displayed for the week. The Association also organised coffee mornings in various venues in Roscommon Town on 12th October.

Ballaghaderreen MHA Candlelight service remembers all those who have died by suicide A poignant candlelight service to remember all those who have died by suicide and to build awareness of the issue took place on Wednesday, October 13th 2010 at the Garden of Remembrance, Market Street, Ballaghaderreen. This event was organised by Ballaghaderreen MHA, County Roscommon Living Links and the North West Roscommon Community Development Project (CDP). The service, attended by 80 people, was addressed by Cllr Michael Creaton, Chairman of Ballaghaderren MHA. Welcoming the gathering Michael said that the aim of the evening was to reach out to people who were finding it difficult to cope with their loss. He assured them

Christina McHugh remembered those who had died by suicide, those who had been left behind and those who were in depression and currently contemplating suicide. “Behind the statistics on suicide there is a uniquely personal, often untold, story of loss, depression, social or economic pressure, breakdown in relationships, alcohol or drug abuse, illness or some combination of these experiences. The reality is startling. During the month of June, 12 people in Ireland lost their lives on the nation’s roads, a huge tragedy, but during that same month, 23 people lost their lives through suicide and Ireland is at the top of the league when it comes to men between the ages of 15 and 30 taking their own lives,” she said. Christina added that the economic crisis had provoked new levels of personal stress and anxiety. “Those who suffer from deep pain need to talk to someone who can listen. County Roscommon is blessed with many good listeners and listening organisations. Events like this evening are important in the remembering and grieving process and I would like to thank you again for inviting me here and congratulate all those involved in the organisation of this event,” Christina concluded. As part of the service the local Cathedral Choir provided the music and a variety of reflections were read by members of the community. Bishop Brendan Kelly spoke about the despair felt by people who could see no other way out except through self-harm and quenching the light of their own lives. He assured people that Jesus knew what people were going through and was there for them. During the ceremony Bishop Kelly lit a special candle remembering all those who had died by suicide. Addressing the gathering, Myra Walshe said that most communities in the region had been touched by suicide. “We are lighting the candles here this evening as a symbol of hope that the darkness will not last forever. I hope the candles that have been lit will continue to shine for you,” she said. Myra added that as part of World Mental Health Day they were encouraging people to build up resilience to help combat the negative effects of stress, especially through a recession. Ballaghaderreen MHA has recently organised Living Links, ASIST and Tune Up training in County Roscommon.

Mayo MHA Mayo Mental Health Association winners of the 2011 Meitheal Award

A.J Prendergast, President, The Mayo Dublin Association, presenting the 2011 Meitheal Award to P.J. Murphy, Chairperson Mayo MHA, surrounded by members of the Association with their friends and supporters.

In February 2011, over 700 people attended a function in the Burlington Hotel in Dublin as Mayo Mental Health Association was named the 2011 Meitheal Award Winner. The award is in recognition of the Association’s role in the community since its foundation in the 1970s. The Mayo Association Dublin were very impressed with the Association’s new Information Centre and office at 2, New Antrim Street, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. “This award couldn’t have been more timely, given the mental health related problems, particularly amongst the young, in today’s society,” Mr P.J. Murphy, Chairman of Mayo MHA said while accepting the Meitheal Award. The Castlebar based voluntary body caters for the psychiatrically ill and promotes positive mental health through various education programmes and seminars. Last year was a significant one for the Association, which opened its new Information Centre at New Antrim Street, Castlebar. P.J. Murphy said, “Today, probably more than ever, the whole area of mental health and mental illness, in general, is being discussed on a more open and broader platform. Like the Berlin Wall of old, those walls have long since been removed from our institutions but unfortunately there is, to some extent, a residual wall of prejudice which still remains when we discuss mental health and psychiatric illness. If this award brings some attention to that alone, then we will have achieved much. Our annual Public Speaking Project for second level schools is one of our main projects and we believe it has contributed significantly towards fostering a sensible approach to mental health and reducing stigma.” He added, “I know we follow in the footsteps of many distinguished groups: people who have lived up to what the ethos of Meitheal is all about - teamwork, urban or rural solidarity, and supporting one another during good times and bad. But for a voluntary organisation like ours to be acknowledged in this way is something special and unique, and we see this award as a recognition – indeed a vindication – of our work, an encouraging pat on the back for, what we feel, is a very important role played by the Mayo Mental Health Association in the area of promoting positive mental health in Mayo.”


The Building Resilience Together Campaign Developed by the staff of MHI

Mental Health Associations Campaign Leading up to World Mental Health Day 2011 we will be working with and encouraging members of our local Mental Health Associations to firstly build their own resilience and acknowledge the important contribution they make in their community. The MHAs will be encouraged to link with their local mental health services to explore ways in which they can promote the concept of resilience for both services users and staff and also promote building community resilience by organising local events.

Definition of Resilience “Building Resilience is developing individual strengths and abilities to bounce back from the challenges and setbacks that life presents us with” (Mental Health Association, New South Wales, Australia). The Building Resilience Together "Sign up, Link in, Get involved" Campaign aims to target the following: • Mental Health Associations • Building Resilience within Organisations • Youth Organisations and Third Level Colleges • Building Resilience: The Individual

Examples of target areas for the MHAs Campaign • Building resilience for Association members • Supporting Mental Health Services • Supporting Service Users • Building Community Resilience Examples of possible activities: • Organise a general public information session/talk/seminar on resilience by a local psychologist, local hero or person who has overcome adversity. • Arrange a talk on resilience in young people for parents – e.g. how to build resilience in children. • Organise a talk on resilience and older people. • MHAs could link with the Mental Health Services and organise a WRAP/Recovery information session for staff and service users. • Building Community Resilience – MHAs could organise a community/ voluntary networking session of the different groups in the area to include a morning session on resilience. • MHAs could contact the local Bishop/ Priest and ask for World Mental Health day (10th October) to be mentioned and the concept of resilience.


• Organise the annual choral event publicising the theme of the campaign and possibly encourage people to consider joining a local choir.

Building Resilience within Organisations Campaign This part of the campaign is asking community, statutory and voluntary organisations to become actively involved in encouraging participation in ‘building resilience’ by hosting events that will encourage members of the public to link in with their local services. Examples of target areas for the Organisations Campaign • Community: Family Resource Centres, Sporting organisations • Statutory: HSE, Dept. of Social and Family Affairs, FAS • Voluntary: MABS, Carers, Age Action, etc. • Rural /Farm Organisations – IFA, ICA, Macra na Feirme, Teagasc Examples of possible activities: • Organise an open day/coffee morning. • Host a public talk on the theme of resilience. • Encourage volunteering/mentoring services, such as, Adult Literacy. • Organise exhibition of local supports in, for example, local shopping centre/ library/General Hospital foyers/ community centres/halls. • Encourage learning a new skill. • Encourage organisations to greet and meet with each other to share expertise and explore ways that groups can work together to develop their own and collective resilience. • Promote ‘Ten Tips to Build Resilience’ – local Pharmacies, Garda Stations. • Host a Book Club Morning on the theme of resilience – select book titles of persons who have overcome adversity in their life.

(Please pull out and keep for future reference)

Information for Local MHA Volunteers

Summary of the Mental Health Ireland Resource Pack a master reference guide relating to the activities of local Mental Health Associations and Mental Health Ireland

Note: This is not a comprehensive copy of the Resource Pack but acts as an information guide only – for further information please contact your local MHA Secretary.

Procedural Guidelines Booklet – guide for MHAs in conducting their business. Booklet deals primarily with matters that have financial implications for MHAs and MHI.

Section 3 - Structure of Mental Health Ireland


Mental Health Ireland (MHI) is a national voluntary

organisation established in 1966. Around 105 Mental Health Associations (MHAs) are currently affiliated with MHI. Their goal is to meet the needs of the population of their own area as well as to promote positive mental health.

Two forms of Association: 1. Unincorporated- informal grouping of people 2. Incorporated – registered limited company. Booklet deals mainly with that of an Unincorporated MHA.

Founding Documentation

Mission Statement: to promote positive mental health and

• Initially the group coming together require a set of rules in which to operate that are set by the founding group.

Activities of Mental Health Ireland:

• At initial group meeting, these rules are identified and placed in a written document, which is signed by each member. This is referred to as a Constitution. Compiling this Constitution does not have to be complicated but it should provide for:

• Supporting local MHAs

- Definition of Association’s activity

• Actively campaign and advocate to improve national mental health policy and service provision

- Admission of members and conditions

• Provide an information service on issues relating to mental health issues and illness (factsheets, website or directly by post or phone)

- Control of funds

- Safeguarding of the group’s/member’s interests

- Compliance with legal and other requirements

to actively support persons with mental illness by identifying their needs and advocating their rights.

• Undertake research on mental health topics • Organising conferences, courses and workshops/seminars on issues relating to mental health • Develop mental health promotion programmes 1.

National Public Speaking Project


Design a Covert Art and Photographic Projects


Mental Health Matters Resource Pack

A draft of a possible Constitution is available to act as a guide and can be altered or expanded as required. However, certain clauses are mandatory where the MHA wishes to use MHI Charity Registration number. Relevant clauses are highlighted. Also within draft, the founding members shall appoint a Management Committee who will serve for one year. Committee consists of a Chairperson, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer and xxx other Members. The Committee is thereafter appointed at the AGM. Also information on Conduct of meetings, Accounts and Winding Up is provided.

Charity Registration Number is available for use by local

procedure on arrival/during visit and any other considerations.

Section 5 - Volunteering Guidelines for MHAS

MHAs. Authorisation is issued formally by MHI and is subject to renewal on an annual basis. Requirements: 1 Application form

2. MHA needs to have a Constitution or be properly registered as a limited company

3. MHA needs to be a paid up Affiliate Member of MHI

Information on volunteering with MHA

4. Accounts must be properly recorded and a certified copy for the previous year submitted with the application

What is volunteering?

• Formal/informal/full-time/part-time form of activity undertaken at a person’s own free will, choice and motivation without concern for financial gain.

5. MHA should have objectives similar to those of MHI

Extract from Memorandum of Association of MHI within this booklet discusses membership application process and types of membership i.e. Ordinary, Affiliate (assists the Company in the furtherance of its aims and objectives as expressed in the Memorandum), Honorary Life Member and Corporate Member.

Keeping of Accounts - requirement of the Revenue Commissioners that a copy of these is provided to MHI each year. • All transactions recorded, noting source of all receipts and destination of all payments. • MHA bank a/c • Sample of a simplified accounts system provided within booklet

Insurance and Liability

• Benefits for volunteer, community and society as whole.

Definition of volunteering Role of Volunteers in local MHAs Type of Activities: • Social Housing, • Befriending, • Mental Health Promotion • Fundraising Befriending is one of the core activities of most MHAs, with the nature of befriending varying between Associations (Volunteers play a crucial role in facilitating Befriending).

1. All events should be insured against liability to the public

Types of Befriending:

2. MHI can arrange cover for all events run by local MHAs, but it is only enforced when the insurance company is advised through Mensana House well in advance of each event.

• Informal Befriending – visiting at home, hospital, day centre, helping out at a social club or helping as a social outlet for people with mental health difficulties.

Mensana House is available to provide advice on any of the above matters.

Section 4 - Good Practice Guidelines Working in Schools Mental Health Ireland has a well established relationship with schools through a varied range of national and local mental health promotion activities including: 1. The Public Speaking Project 2. The Design a Cover Art and Photographic Projects 3. Mental Health Matters Resource Pack.

Outside of national projects • Information talks: either requested/offered to schools by Development Officer. Within the Pack there is a suggested guideline for working with schools and advice on practice that should be adopted when dealing with schools, e.g. requests, initial contact, agree

• Formal Befriending – a formal process of matching the volunteer with befriender, may be involved in monitoring and contact with key-worker. Social Housing • MHAs becoming increasingly involved in this area. Information Provision • to both general public and those with mental illness; information resources include information leaflets produced by MHI.

Fundraising Other areas covered in the Pack relating to volunteering include: 1. Volunteer recruitment, carried out by each MHA usually by providing information to public on volunteering positions in an informal way at information days, talks or seminars. 2. Occasionally volunteers are recruited through media advertisement.

Guidelines for working with Volunteers include: • sample copy of Volunteer Agreement Form • Induction/Training of volunteers, currently few formal induction courses; local MHAs facilitate informal training on ad hoc basis with training varying from each MHA. There are no set programmes/guidelines on what training needs to be done. • Resource Pack offers possible training topics 1. What is mental health (rather than single focus on illness) 2. Where befriending is offered, volunteers should receive briefing on Listening Skills, Understanding Mental Health, Boundaries/Confidentiality, Health and Safety. • Health and Safety Guidelines should be in place in every MHA. In the Resource Pack there is a set of suggested guidelines i.e. Awareness (Safety First); Alertness (Driving at Night, etc); Communication (using a mobile); Reporting Incidents for which there is a sample Incident/Accident Report sheet. • List of suggested policies for MHA

Section 8 - Mental Health Promotion There are many ways in which MHAs can support and promote mental health in local communities. Handbook provides guidance on developing local mental health promotion activities and profiles a variety of locally based projects to illustrate the range of such activities currently being undertaken by local MHAs throughout the country.

Topics include: What is mental health promotion? Developing a mental health promotion activity: • Identify need • Consider project options • Plan a project • Identify and accessing resources

Section 6 - Befriending

• Implement the project

Booklet available covering:

Each of these stages is explored comprehensively in the Pack.

• Role of local MHAs in Befriending

Mental Health Promotion Appendices:

• Types of Befriending • Principles of Befriending – Involvement of both Community Members and Mental Health Services Staff • Developing a Befriending Project – consultations with service users, availability of volunteers, resources available, transport, insurance, premises, and timing of activities • Guidelines on Individual Befriending • Training Each of the above topics is explored comprehensively in the Pack.

Section 7 - Housing Booklet acts as an information guide for local MHAs on how to plan a housing project. Different project options include: 1. Green field site 2. Purchase of property in private housing developments 3. Purchase of used housing 4. License Agreement with Health Boards 5. Leasing of housing from local authority 6. Renting of private property.

• Evaluate and reviewing project

1. Facilitation at meetings:

- Understand the goals of the meeting - Keep group on track with Agenda - Include everyone in the meeting

- Make sure that decisions are made democratically 2. Evaluation – key 5 questions: - Did we do what we set out to do? - What worked / didn’t work? - What difference did the project make? - What could we do differently? - How do we plan to use evaluation findings for continuous learning?

Section 9 - Fundraising Key to success with fundraising requires: • Commitment • Planning well • Support of committed members • Avoidance of unnecessary expense The Pack lists examples of fundraising events: Auction, Dance, Cake Sale, Coffee Morning, Bring & Buy Sale, Fashion Show, etc.

Section 10 - Mental Health Act 2001 Offers a brief guide to the main features of the Mental Health Legislation.

Section 11 - Links / where to go for help Provides a list of useful websites/contact details for: 1. Statutory Bodies 2. Independent Bodies 3. Mental Health Voluntary Organisations or support groups.

Section 12 - Contacts 1. MHI Development Officers 2. Health Service Executive 3. Local MHA Honorary Secretaries

Mental Health Ireland would like to thank Ms. Avril Nolan, Honorary Secretary, Carlow MHA for her sterling work on compiling this summary document.

Youth Organisations and Third Level Colleges Campaign

Youth Groups

The ‘Building Resilience’ Campaign for young people is aimed at third level students, local youth groups and their staff and youth leaders. The aim of the campaign will be to raise awareness about the importance of resilience and to highlight ways of strengthening it throughout one’s life.

• Suggest the group take on activities around World Mental Health Day that emphasise resilience.

Examples of target areas for the Youth Organisations and Third Level Colleges Campaign • Students and Youth Groups • Staff and Youth Leaders Examples of possible activities: Third Level Organisations • Link with the Student Services and Students’ Union Welfare Officers. • Organise an information session with the psychology department on resilience. • Link with the clubs and societies to promote the campaign theme ‘sign up, link in, get involved’. • Promote the supports in the college for students and have information on resilience in the student health centre. • Film society may organise a film that reflects the theme of the campaign. • Organise a debate on what builds and what knocks resilience. • Promote the ‘Ten Tips to Build Your Resilience’ factsheet - adapting them for target group. • Link with the library to display and promote their bibliotherapy resources.

• Organise an information session on resilience followed by a discussion on how the group can respond and develop their own and collective resilience.

• Ask youth organisations to promote the ‘sign up, link in, get involved’ campaign theme among staff and young people.

Building Resilience Sign up, Link in, Get involved Campaign Mental Health Ireland, the local Mental Health Associations and Development Officer Team will be running an ongoing campaign around World Mental Health Day to encourage individuals to: Sign up for a course, learn a new skill, or take up some activity.

• Promote the ‘Ten Tips to Build Your Resilience’ factsheet - adapting them for target group. • Ask youth groups to link with other youth groups during the week as part of the collective community resilience for young people initiative.

Link in with family and friends for social support and seek help early if you are experiencing mental or physical health difficulties.

Building Resilience: Individual Campaign The Building Resilience Campaign for Individuals involves raising awareness of the need for all of us to look after our mental health and wellbeing. People are experiencing more personal stress than ever before in the present climate, whether it’s job losses, negative equity, increased workloads or personal issues. We are living in uncertain times which causes us to experience more pressure and stress whether we are aware of it or not. Each individual has the capacity to develop resilience, it is a personal journey. We do not all react the same to stressful events or challenges. Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in everyone.

Get involved in volunteering, find a cause you are passionate about or just practice random acts of kindness. Activities • We will use the national and local media, do radio interviews, write articles for local and national newspapers and get well known personalities who usually write about health issues to concentrate on promoting resilience during the week. • We will run a poster campaign and distribute information leaflets on how to build and maintain resilience. We will target people who are recently unemployed, young parents, students and youth organisations and the general public. • We will take part in our annual outdoor activities such as walks and fun events, all which build resilience and improve overall wellbeing. • We will also be promoting annual activities run by Mental Health Associations as ways of building resilience. During the choral events, we will be encouraging people to join a choir or group or to just sit and listen to music.

Please contact Mental Health Ireland or your local MHI Development Officer for further information: Mental Health Ireland, Mensana House, 6 Adelaide Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin Tel: 01-284 11 66 - Fax: 01-284 17 36 | Email:


Building Resilience Information Leaflet Below is an extract from MHI's information leaflet supporting the Building Resilience Together Campaign which is available at or contact Mental Health Ireland at 01-2841166 or email WHY BUILD YOUR RESILIENCE?




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World Mental Health Day 2011 World Mental Health Day - Monday October 10th Theme for Mental Health Day 2011 - Building Resilience Together Mental Health Ireland will be running two national campaigns again this year around World Mental Health Day, the “Building Resilience Together Campaign” launched in 2010 and the National Choral Singing Project. Development Officers will be linking in with local Mental Health Associations to assist with the planning and organisation of these campaigns. Our local MHAs will also be busy organising their usual unique local events, many of which have been running for several years and have become traditional in their local areas. A national calendar of events celebrating World Mental Health Day, which falls on October 10th, will be compiled containing the final details of the activities listed on the following pages, as well as others still in the planning process. If you are planning an event, as soon as you have confirmed details, please let your local Development Officer know so that we can include it on the calendar of events which will be available on the MHI website, Choral events will also be listed on the Association of Irish Choirs’ website,

MHI Development Officers 2011 Eastern Region

(Dublin South/East Wicklow) Mr. Michael Noble, E-mail: Tel: (M) 086-8385584 (Dublin North) Contact Michael Noble at 086-8385584 or Michael Cummins at 087-2873526

MHI Development Officers 2011 North Western Region

(Sligo & Leitrim) Ms. Rachel Reilly, E-mail: Tel: (M) 086- 8539010

Southern Region

(Kildare,West Dublin & West Wicklow) Mr. Michael Cummins, E-mail: Tel: (M) 086-2873526

(Kerry) Mr. Dan O’Connor, E-mail: Tel: (W) 064-31022 (M) 087-6998901

Midland Region

South Eastern Region

(Laois, Longford, Offaly & Westmeath) Ms. Finola Colgan E-mail: Tel: (M) 086-8353387

Mid-Western Region

(Clare, Limerick & Tipperary North) Contact Mental Health Ireland E-mail: Tel: 01-2841166

North Eastern Region

(Cavan, Louth, Meath & Monaghan) Mr. Sean McKiernan, E-mail: Tel: (M) 086-6028157

(Waterford, Wexford, S. Tipperary, Carlow & Kilkenny) Ms. Linda Thorpe, E-mail: Tel: (W) 053-9239574 (M) 087-8353925

Western Region

(Galway City & County) Ms. Nicola Morley E-mail: Tel. (M) 086-3837607 (Mayo & Roscommon) Ms. Myra Walshe E-mail: Tel: (M) 087-9671063


World Mental Health Day

Events Around the Country Hosted by Mental Health Associations Eastern Region MHI Development Officer: Mr. Michael Noble Tel: 086 838 5584 Email: Local MHA

Event Description

Vergemount & District MHA

• Information day in local shopping centre and hospital • safeTALK suicide first aid training

Dun Laoghaire MHA

• • • •

Bray MHA

• Social event for service users and carers • Information distribution • safeTALK suicide first aid training

Wicklow MHA

• • • •

Information event Social event Literature distribution safeTALK suicide first aid training

Arklow MHA

• • • •

Social event Literature distribution Participation in Arklow Youth Health Week safeTALK suicide first aid training

Fingal MHA

• Information event • safeTALK suicide first aid training

Social afternoon Information distribution Quiz night safeTALK suicide first aid training

MHI Development Officer: Mr. Michael Cummins Tel: 086 287 3526 Email:


Counties: Dublin South, Dublin North, East Wicklow

Counties: Kildare, North Dublin, West Dublin and West Wicklow

Local MHA

Event Description


• Distribution of Information Leaflets


• Church Gate Collection • Talk in local Library on Thursday 6th October

Naas/ Newbridge/ Kildare

• Talk on “Building Resilience Together” in local centre. • Information Stands in Newbridge Shopping Centre, Whitewater Shopping Centre and a Kildare venue yet to be decided.

Drumcondra & District

• Talk on “Building Resilience Together” in local library • Publication of Newsletter • Distribution of literature

Dublin 15

• Information Stand in local library for month of October


• Talk in local library • Church Gate Collection


• Information Stand in local library for month of October

Crumlin & District

• • • •

St. Loman’s

• Healthy Challenge - Walk in the Park


• Information Stand in Tallaght Hospital on Wednesday, 12th October

Fun Table Quiz Launch of Primary School 5th Class Essay Project 2011 Church Gate Collection Information Stand and Coffee Morning on Friday, 14th October at St. Agnes’ Community Centre.

Midland Region MHI Development Officer: Ms. Finola Colgan Tel: 086 835 3387 Email:

Counties: Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath

Local MHA

Event Description


• Information stand at SuperValu, Portarlington


• Social evening for Mental Health Service Users


• Social afternoon ‘ceol agus craic’ Erkina House, Rathdowney


• Monthly Birthday Bash, social evening in the Community Mental Health Centre


• Annual 10K Walk – Stepping Out for Good Mental Health


• Social Evening to celebrate Volunteering


• Launch of Building Resilience Together leaflet in partnership with Westmeath Community Voluntary Organisation Forum


• Building Resilience Together Project in partnership with Mullingar Soroptomist


South Eastern Region MHI Development Officer: Ms. Linda Thorpe Tel: 053 923 9574 Mobile: 087 835 3925 Email:

Counties: Carlow, Kilkenny, S. Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford

Local MHA

Event Description


• A week of public lectures on mental health topics by professionals and keynote speakers • Family fun day • Choral event in union with the Association of Irish Choirs (AOIC)


• Monster Fashion Show • Choral event in association with AOIC • Interagency positive mental health awareness day in High Street location

South Tipperary

• Interactive music events • Public awareness talks • Positive Mental Health Promotion programmes for schools

West Tipperary

• Plans for activities around World Mental Health Day are in progress. Details will be available at


• Public meeting with keynote speaker • Information stand in City Square

West Waterford

• Information stand in Dungarvan Square • Positive mental health promotion awareness events for second level schools in the Dungarvan catchment area • Choral event in association with AOIC


• Positive mental health promotion concert in association with AOIC • Interactive choir/ music at various venues throughout the county • Art and/or Essay competitions for schools • Positive mental health promotion programmes and information stands

Western Region MHI Development Officer: Ms. Myra Walshe Tel: 087 967 1063 Email:


Counties: Mayo and Roscommon

Local MHA

Event Description


• Mental Health Conference linking with the Building Resilience theme for the week • Talks on Mental Health issues and ‘Building Resilience’ will be held in the Mayo MHA Information Centre, Castlebar • Students from local second level schools will be invited to the Information Centre to discuss topics on mental health • Coffee mornings in the Information Centre • Wellness Promotion Action Planning training, organised by volunteers • Information stand on display in the main shopping malls • Recitals by various choirs including Cor Mhuigheo, Sacred Heart Hospital • Interviews with Midwest Radio

Details of all events in Mayo including the Mental Health Conference will be available on the Mayo MHA website, in addition to the Mental Health Ireland website. Local MHA

Event Description

Roscommon Town

• Quilt display by service users in various centres in the town, organised by the MHA in partnership with the HSE • Art and Digital Photography display by service users in the county library, organised by the MHA, the HSE and Peer Support • A 10k Walk and Cycle in Roscommon town, organised in association with the Sports Partnership • Church Gate collection • Coffee mornings in various centres throughout the county • Talks by the Development Officer on mental health related topics in various centres during the week • Radio Interviews with Shannonside and Ross FM.

Ballaghaderreen / Castlerea and Roscommon Town MHAs

• The MHAs in the county are planning a joint conference on mental health in October/November 2011 • Interviews with Shannonside and Ross FM

North Eastern Region MHI Development Officer: Mr. Seán McKiernan Tel: 086 602 8157 Email: Local MHA

Counties: Cavan, Louth, Meath and Monaghan

Event Description

Events around World Mental Health Day in the North Eastern counties of Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath are beginning to take shape

The Development Officer, Seán McKiernan, has written out to community and voluntary fora, Chambers of Commerce, County Councils, Libraries, VECs, Church bodies, Schools and Colleges, Choirs, Media outlets and other organisations asking them to mark Mental Health Day in some way and, if possible, in conjunction with one of the 12 Mental Health Associations active in the North East.

Amongst the other activities being planned by local MHAs are the East Cavan Essay Project prize-giving night to be held during October 2011, to which Minister of State Kathleen Lynch is being invited. Monaghan MHA hope to run an evening seminar for those coping with the stress of unemployment, with an input by MABS. Similarly, Carrickmacross MHA are seeking local partners to run a Community Forum on ‘Coping in Tough Economic Times’ which proved to be a success for Bailieborough MHA last autumn. Navan MHA will get their new term off to an early start with a concert featuring the Garda Band and their own social club choir on Tuesday 6th September, 2011. Dundalk MHA will continue their annual family fun day in a local shopping centre. Drogheda and South Meath MHAs hope to re-launch their Associations and recruit new volunteers as part of the celebrations around World Mental Health Day.

Please note the above events are subject to change, so check out and over the coming months for an updated, detailed schedule of events. Remember, be sure to let your local Development Officer know if you have organised or are planning to organise an event and we will include it on our list on the MHI website. MHI wishes to take this opportunity to thank our volunteers for all their hard work and effort that goes into the many activities and events organised to celebrate World Mental Health Day.


National Choral Singing Project For the fourth year running, Mental Health Ireland is collaborating with the Association of Irish Choirs (AOIC) to highlight the positive benefits of choral singing to people’s mental health. National Choral Singing Week is the joint initiative of the Association of Irish Choirs, Wexford County Council Arts Office and Mental Health Ireland. Local Mental Health Associations and Development Officers will help choirs to organise and publicise their events. Volunteers around the country will link with local choirs and come up with unique ideas to get people to celebrate positive mental health by joining together in song. Choirs are being encouraged to take part through organising performances in the street, shopping centres, hospitals and day care units, to name just a few possible types of events. In 2011, Mental Health Ireland and the AOIC hope to have as many choirs, schools and groups as possible involved in the National Choral Singing Week. If you are interested in organising an event, please contact your local Development Officer or local MHA. A national calendar of events will be compiled and listed on the MHI and AOIC websites, so as soon as you have confirmed details of your event, please let your local Development Officer know so we can add your voices to the list.

Singing for your mental health! Association of Irish Choirs: enhancing life through choral music Introduction 90% of people involved in singing report that “singing positively affects quality of life”, “singing makes mood more positive” and “singing is relaxing and helps deal with stress”. (Cliff et al, 2008) Existing research studies An increasing number of studies and reports on the benefits of group singing have shown that singers report a range of associated social, psychological and health benefits. Participating in group singing activities has been shown to encourage team building, development of leadership skills and active citizenship. Singing in a group can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, has been shown to increase the production of endorphins and adrenaline, heightening feelings of well-being, gives the participant a physical workout and is an enjoyable way to meet new people and make music together. An average of 95% of singers report that "singing positively affects quality of life" An average of 91% of singers report that "singing makes my mood more positive" An average of 85% of singers report that "singing is relaxing and helps deal with stress" (Choral Singing, Wellbeing and Health: Summary of Findings from a Cross National Survey 2008).

Choral Singing in Saint Agnes Church celebrating World Mental Health Day 2010

Our thanks to the Association of Irish Choirs (AOIC) for their continued interest and partnership in this project and for providing us with the following article which includes some interesting facts on the benefits of choral singing to your mental health. Also included is information on the work of the AOIC and, in particular, their involvement with the National Choral Singing Project.


Research has also assessed the impact of singing on physiological variables assumed to have wellbeing and health implications. Several studies have tested levels of immunoglobulin A in saliva taken from participants before and after singing and reported significant increases, pointing to enhanced immune system activity (e.g. Becj et al 2000; Kuhn 2002, Kreutz, Bongard, Rohrmann, Grebe, Bastian and Hodapp, 2004). Houston, McKee, Carroll and Marsh (1998) report improvements in levels of anxiety and depression in nursing home residents following a four week programme of singing and Cohen, Perlstein, Chapline, Kelly, Firth and Simmens (2006) found improvements in both mental and

physical health in a group of elderly people participating in community choir for one year. Since 2008, the Association of Irish Choirs (AOIC) has become involved in a number of initiatives, on a national basis, designed to encourage greater participation in singing, in particular, to promote the positive benefits of choral singing for people’s physical and mental health. Founded in 1980, The Association of Irish Choirs /Cumann Náisiúnta na gCór is a national resource organisation, funded by The Arts Council, to support and promote excellence in choral music on the island of Ireland. The Association fulfils its function as a national resource organisation by providing information and advice to choirs and conductors and by presenting a range of programmes and activities designed to respond to the needs of Association members, the wider choral community and the public. AOIC’s most successful initiative to date, in the area of arts and health, has been the organisation of Ireland’s National Choral Singing Week in association with Mental Health Ireland to coincide with World Mental Health Day. National Choral Singing Week activities take place in a number of contexts including day centres, hospitals, schools, shopping centres, workplaces and in 2010, even members of the Dáil and Séanad participated. AOIC's role in National Choral Singing Week is as: • initiator (where we encourage choirs to think about ways in which they can get involved), • facilitator (where we put choirs in touch with each other and ease access to health /public settings) • and finally, as promoter (on our website, our monthly newsflash and in local and national press)

MHI Projects and Activities National Public Speaking Project Public Speaking Final 2011 SLIGO STUDENTS WIN 30th NATIONAL PUBLIC SPEAKING TITLE In what the judges described as ‘a very closely contested final, with superb presentations from all participants’, the national title this year went to students from Summerhill College, County Sligo. The final was held in the Edmund Burke Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin on Saturday, April 9th.

Finalists: Athlone Community College, Retreat Rd., Athlone, Co. Westmeath L-R Ciara Murray (sub.), Laura Ray, Ann Curley and Laura Walsh

The judging panel praised all the students for their clear understanding of the subject, which was demonstrated by the concise content they put into their contributions and on the maturity of the understanding and perception they demonstrated when debating. This year’s topic, discussed in relation to positive mental health, was: • Our mistakes challenge us, • Our aspirations inspire us, • Our choices define us. The winning team from Summerhill College were Cian Tuohy, Barry Brennan, Thomas Endersby and Kieran Blake (substitute). The Sligo team, tutored by Fr. Gerard Cryan, won the local, regional and semi final events to reach the national finals. Their School Principal is Mr. Tommy McManus. Finalists: Coláiste Eoin, Hacketstown, Co. Carlow L-R Michael Daly (Principal), Áine Byrne, Deirdre O'Neill, Sarah Dalton, Ciara Byrne (sub.) and Liz Farrell (Tutor)

Mental Health Ireland wishes to acknowledge with sincere thanks the help and assistance from all the schools and teachers associated with the project and the local organisers, Development Officers and adjudicators for their continued support. Sincere thanks also to all the teams who participated in the project, many of whom have since become members of Young Mental Health Ireland. Last, but by no means least, our thanks to Mr. Eamonn O’Sullivan, Chairman of the National Public Speaking Steering Group who hosted adjudicators’ workshops and to the participants who attended the training.

L-R Mr. Michael Hughes, Chairman, MHI presenting the trophy to the Summerhill College team - Kieran Blake (sub.), Thomas Endersby, Barry Brennan and Cian Tuohy of Summerhill College Team with tutor Fr. Gerard Cryan and Mr. Brian Howard, CEO, MHI.


2011-2012 National Public Speaking Project In September this year we will launch the 31st Public Speaking Project. We would ask all volunteers, local MHAs and schools to continue your support for this fantastic project. Mr. Brian Howard, CEO, MHI says of the project “It is as important now as it has ever been. Crucially, the project has engaged hundreds of students to think more deeply about the issue of mental health problems, and has encouraged school and community participation in a subject that affects so many young people living in Ireland”. An Information Pack containing all the details needed to enter a team will be distributed to all Post-Primary Schools and Colleges during the first two weeks of September. All local MHA Secretaries will also be sent a copy of the Information Pack and are encouraged to promote the project amongst the second level schools in their area. Details of the project will be available on the Mental Health Ireland website, . The proposed timeframe for the project is outlined below as a guideline only:

Sarah’s photograph was chosen from entries received from second level students from all over Ireland and she was awarded a trophy and a cheque for €250.00 by Mr. Michael Hughes, Chairman of Mental Health Ireland. Sarah’s teacher is Ms. Kerri McCarthy.

"Reach for the Sky" by Sarah Courtney - winning entry of the 2010-2011 National Photographic Project.

The theme of the project was Positive Mental Health. Sarah’s photograph shows seven friends on the beach jumping for joy and having fun. The caption on it reads “Reach for the Sky”. Thérèse Coveney, Project Co-ordinator said “The judges loved Sarah’s photograph. The message in it is very simple. A positive attitude and having fun with your friends is good for you and your mental health. This depicts Positive Mental Health in a very natural, effective way”. This nationwide project is one of several annual events organised by Mental Health Ireland for Post-Primary Schools and Colleges, to encourage positive mental health attitudes among young people.

• Local/County Finals should be completed by 9th December, 2011 • Regional Finals will commence on 16th January, 2012 • National Semi-Finals will be completed by 2nd March, 2012 The 2012 National Final will be held in the Edmund Burke Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin on Saturday, 31st March 2012.

National Photographic Project Kerry student wins photographic project Sarah Courtney, a student from St. Brigid’s Secondary School, Killarney, Co. Kerry was declared the overall winner of Mental Health Ireland’s National Photographic Project at a ceremony in Trinity College, Dublin, on Saturday, April 9th, 2011.

L-R Dan O'Connor, Development Manager KMHA presenting Sarah with her trophy. Also in the picture are Margaret MacCormack, Principal and Kerri McCarthy, Transition Year Coordinator, St. Brigid's Secondary School, Killarney.

National Photographic Project 2011-2012 The 2011 National Photographic Project will be launched in September. Details of the project will be sent to all Post-Primary Schools and Colleges around the country and to local MHA Secretaries. Local MHAs are encouraged to ensure that all local second level schools are aware of this project. Details of the project will also be available on


Design a Cover Art Project Waterford student wins national art project Katie Ní Urmholtaigh, a student at Meánscoil San Nioclás, Rinn ÓgCuanach, Dún Garbhán, Co. Phort Láirge was declared winner of Mental Health Ireland’s National Design a Cover Art Project. Katie’s design, which was chosen from over one thousand entries received from second-level students from all over Ireland, will be used by Mental Health Ireland on the cover of our promotional literature for the 2011-2012 National Public Speaking Project. Katie’s picture shows a hand outstretched reaching for help from the shadows of a tunnel. The caption reads “There is always light at the end of the tunnel – never give up hope”. Thérèse Coveney, Project Co-ordinator, said “The judges loved Katie’s picture. The hand reaching out for help from a place of darkness into the light and another hand outstretched to provide that help aptly portrays the theme of the project, Positive Mental Health”. Mr. Brian Howard, CEO, MHI presents Katie Ní Urmholtaigh with a trophy to mark her winning this year's National Design a Cover Art Project. Katie also received a cheque for 250.

Design a Cover Art Project 2011-2012 The 2011/12 Design a Cover Art Project will be launched in September and details of the project will be circulated to all Post-Primary Schools and Colleges. The Information Pack will also be sent to local MHA Secretaries who are encouraged to create awareness of the project amongst the second level schools in their area. Students who submit an entry will be in with a chance to see their artwork reproduced in MHI’s calendar. The overall winner’s artwork will be reproduced on the promotional material for the 31st National Public Speaking Project and will also receive a 250 voucher. Remember Positive Mental Health is the theme for the project and entries must portray a positive mental health message. Left is the cover of last year’s promotional literature for the Public Speaking Project showing the winning Design a Cover entry by Kathryn O’Connor.

Adjudicator Training Workshops Mental Health Ireland is planning to hold two Adjudicator Training Workshops before commencement of the 2011-2012 Public Speaking Project. These will be held in Dublin and Athlone – see Calendar of Events on back cover for details. Mr. Eamonn O’Sullivan, Chairman of the National Public Steering Group has

kindly agreed to present these workshops which will be open to volunteers interested in becoming an adjudicator as well as existing adjudicators on the panel. For details, please contact Elaine Corcoran at Mensana House at 01-2841166 or e-mail


Mental Health Matters (MHM) Programme

Facilitator Training The Mental Health Matters (MHM) Facilitator Training was originally developed by Mental Health Ireland (MHI) to assist Post-Primary School teachers with the delivery of the Mental Health Matters Resource Pack. The MHM Resource Pack, developed by MHI, is a mental health education and promotion programme which was introduced to all Post-Primary Schools nationwide in 2001. The programme is designed to be realistic and help people identify and access relevant support so they can respond in appropriate ways to emerging mental health difficulties in their lives. The programme aims to trigger discussions and role play on issues such as substance misuse as well as bullying, relationship difficulties and family conflict. The programme also addresses the issue of stigma, and aims to reduce stigma associated with mental health by encouraging participants to talk openly about their emotions and mental health difficulties. The Resource Pack has been in existence now for 11 years and is still very popular with teachers. Due to increased demand from other sectors, in 2011, Mental Health Ireland made the MHM Facilitator Training available to individuals working in many fora outside the school setting, such as, organisations within the HSE, community groups, youth groups and the voluntary sector. The training course is free of charge to voluntary organisations and all participants receive a Mental Health Matters Resource Pack upon completion. This year so far, a number of Mental Health Matters Facililtator Training courses have been organised around the country, including; Dublin, Donegal, Sligo, Roscommon and Waterford. Feedback from participants has been very positive and plans are in place for further training courses during the year, including a training course for the staff of Comhairle na nÓg in the Midlands. A training course specifically for Post-Primary School teachers is also being planned for September.

For further details of the Mental Health Matters Programme and to find out about MHM Facilitator Training available in your area, please contact Mental Health Ireland at info@ or tel. 01-2841166 or your local Development Officer. MHI wishes to thank all the trainers and those who have completed the MHM Facilitator Training. We welcome feedback from participants on how you have used the MHM Resource Pack in your work. Comments can be sent to info@, for the attention of Thérèse Coveney, MHM Programme Co-ordinator.

MHI Workshops available to local MHAs The following is a breakdown of workshops which are available to volunteers/local MHAs to run in your locality: • Introduction to Advocacy • Caring for Carers • Stress Management; Personal and Workplace • Coping with Student Stress • Suicide Awareness • Managing your Mental Health • Understanding Mood Disorders - Depression, Anxiety, Panic Disorder


As mental health problems are increasing, it is now more important than ever for people to be introduced to the concept of positive mental health and ways to maintain mental wellbeing and MHI continues to deliver programmes/projects for people to inform them. If you are interested in any of the above courses, please contact your local MHI Development Officer for details or Mental Health Ireland at Mensana House on 01-2841166. Ted Tierney

Deputy CEO, MHI

Mental Health Education & Promotion Mental Health, it is about you!! Some Questions! When you hear the words Mental Health what do you think of? What words/expressions/images spring to your mind? Do you ever think you will have a problem with your mental health? What can you do to help?

Mental Health and Young People • Mental health means much more than just the absence of mental illness. • It is about physical and emotional wellbeing,about having the strength and capacity to live a full and creative life and also the flexibility to deal with life’s ups and downs!

I’m a teenager, its my job to be difficult!! • Childhood, from infancy through adolescence, is the time when our mental health is developed. • Our adolescent years are not necessarily more difficult than any other period of life. It is the transition period between the dependence of childhood and the responsibilities of adult life.

No one said growing up would be easy!!

Potential Stressors

• In physical terms it is perhaps the healthiest and most vigorous time of our lives, but it can also provide us with some of our greatest challenges!

• Bullying

• On a psychological level there are many changes to be dealt with, e.g. personal and sexual identity, independence, vocational choices, developing a sense of what life is all about.

• High parental expectation

Freddie Mercury was right!! • Young people can experience all sorts of pressures and difficulties. Some problems that we encounter as adolescents can influence us enormously for the rest of our lives. • It is not easy to grow up in today’s complex society - influences such as peer pressure, media pressure, pressure from parents and families, pressure from partners; sometimes it will feel like a world full of nothing only pressure!

It’s not all doom and gloom! • Most teenagers do very well! With the support of those around them, they can enjoy and make the most of their opportunities. Some, however, don’t do so well. Without the right circumstances and support, problems may arise which can have a significant effect on a young person’s future and can potentially lead to serious difficulties.

Stress and Young People • Stress knows no age limits! It can happen to any of us! No one is immune! • Research has shown us that 20% of adolescents will encounter some form of psychological problem during their early adulthood. Most of these problems can be dealt with in the family or school setting but some will require medical intervention.

• Significant loss • Family conflict • Divorce / Separation • Illness or injury • Peer Pressure • Sex and Relationships

Yeah, but, no but! • Sexual orientation • Drugs • Career choices • Pregnancy • Sexual abuse • The intolerable urge to be older!

How do we know if we are stressed? • There is no clear dividing line between adolescent moods and behaviours that are just normal reactions to the changes and stresses of life and so called mental health problems. • Generally, it is a combination of signs and symptoms that alerts us to the need for help. • These signs and symptoms usually manifest themselves in significant behavioural change!

Signs and Symptoms to watch out for! • Frequent changes in mood • Sleep disturbance • Significant changes in appetite • Deterioration in coping skills • Destructive behaviours • Withdrawal from others • Loss of interest in hobbies/pastimes • Deterioration in school work


Me difficult… never! • Truancy • Constant rows? Arguments over trivial issues • Acts of deliberate self-harm • Serious risk-taking behaviour • Violent behaviour

Stress Awareness • Developing an awareness of stress points and our responses to them, which enables young people to take control of them, can help prevent the build-up of worries which can affect our mental wellbeing. • One of young people’s greatest resource is each other! You will notice when something is wrong with your friend! A simple gesture that you are available to talk or listen may be the most invaluable resource to them when they are under pressure!

Tips! • Pay attention to your lifestyle --- BALANCE is the key! • Get Involved --- having contact with others is important to all of us, social interaction works! • Keep Active --- HEALTHY BODY/HEALTHY MIND! You have heard it all before, but it is true! • Don’t be afraid to talk! Even men need to talk! An objective friend is worth their weight in gold! • Someone who will listen and advise even if it is something you don’t want to hear, is great to have around!

Mental Health First Aid • Ask for help! If you are the one under pressure don’t be afraid to ask for help or, alternatively, if you notice someone else under pressure, offer your help in a gentle unobtrusive way they will eventually appreciate the offer!

MHI’s Information Leaflet Mental Health and Young People is available for download at MHI’s website It can also be ordered by phone at 01-2841166 or email

Mental Health Ireland Support for Post-Primary Schools and Colleges

• Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength!


Mental Health Ireland Regional Development Officers are available to support teachers with any mental health promotional activities including: •

talks on a range of mental health topics/issues,

information days,

identifying resources,

arranging visits to local mental health services.

To request any of the above, contact or your local MHI Development Officer, contact details available at


What’s the Crack with Laughter Yoga?

by Angie Lindenau, Certified Laughter Yoga Facilitator, Counsellor & Psychotherapist Email:, Mobile: 087 688 6595 Laughing hardly needs an introduction. It helps with life. A bout of laughter can dispel a tense situation that might escalate into a problem in an instant. Laughing achieves the same effect as relaxation, meditation and mindfulness: it grounds us in the here and now and helps us cope with the challenges of daily life by ‘being present’. Laughter increases the oxygen intake which in turn boosts the body’s overall function including the production of feel-good hormones in the brain, thereby automatically triggering a mood lift while you’re having fun! Laughter is highly contagious; people join in spontaneously once it’s ‘in the air’. Being part of a group of laughing people creates a sense of connection with the laughers around us, thereby defying feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Laughter Yoga is an economical and easy way to make positive changes that help improve wellbeing and promote peak performance, e.g. • increases communication skills, motivation, enthusiasm, energy and productivity; • improves leadership skills, team work, mood and overall attitude; • boosts creativity and innovation; • lowers levels of stress, conflicts and absences from workplace due to health reasons.

But few people know about the benefits of ‘laughing for no reason’. In the year 2011, when life in Ireland may be no laughing matter, it is reassuring that Laughter Yoga does not require to feel like laughing, be happy, or in a funny mood. It even works without jokes. Just be prepared to risk it – you’ll be happy to catch the laughter bug! Laughter Yoga is the art of using laughter to build resilience and self-confidence while getting physically fit in a very short space of time. The typical Laughter Yoga session takes about 40 minutes of light movement combined with deep breathing and ‘laughter exercises’. Practicing Laughter Yoga in a group means seeing others become visibly happier before our very eyes, which makes it extra enjoyable. Laughter Yoga lends itself to adaptation for specific groups by picking the most suitable exercises from around 200 listed in a ‘Laughter Yoga Exercise Bank’. Its many benefits make it an attractive proposition for community, health and business settings. Laughter Clubs promote enjoyment and social cohesion in community settings including youth clubs, care for carers, parent support groups and institutional settings from hospitals to prisons. Some therapeutic applications for Laughter Yoga in the health sector are stress management, relaxation, positive mental health, rehabilitation, cancer care, Parkinson’s, and coronary care. With regard to depression, Laughter Yoga is very suitable for recovery and maintenance of wellbeing but needs to be carefully devised and monitored in respect of persons experiencing bipolar or psychotic problems in order to avoid further boosting of acute states. Applications in business settings include effective management and human resources, team building, ice breakers and improved climate in the workplace.


Anne Buckley -

Retirement MHI would like to acknowledge the excellent work of Anne Buckley as an MHI Development Officer in the Mid-West area since she joined MHI from the HSE. Anne was extremely popular with volunteers and a valued colleague who brought her expertise in the area of Health Promotion to the fore in developing MHI Education and Promotion programmes. Anne will be greatly missed by all concerned but we wish her well in her retirement.

Announcements Bill Vaughan -

New Development Officer for Donegal We welcome Bill Vaughan onto the team of MHI Development Officers. Bill took up the post in County Donegal in October 2010 and has been busy meeting the members from the ten Mental Health Associations in the county. Although brought up in County Down, Bill has strong Donegal links with his mother being from Kilcar, in the south of the county. Bill is married and has three boys and has been living in Letterkenny for 20 years. He has had a variety of jobs within the mental health sector, including addiction counselling, youth work and family assessment – all within County Donegal. Bill is involved with the drama society in Letterkenny and helps out in his local GAA club – Glenswilly. He also likes to sing….despite the groans from his work colleagues! When asked to sum up his role as Development Officer for Donegal, Bill answered, “To do the best I can to have

Anne Buckley


as many people in Donegal smiling and happy as possible”. We wish Bill all the best in achieving his goal!

Bill Vaughan

Thérèse Coveney – Welcomes New Baby Thérèse Coveney, Executive Officer, Mental Health Ireland gave birth to baby girl April Mary on 18th April, 2011. MHI would like to congratulate Thérèse and her family on the arrival of, in Thérèse’s own words, their ‘little gem’.

April Mary Coveney

Camille Afchain – Moves On

Camille Afchain initially joined MHI for work experience from May to September 2008 whilst she was completing her two-

year Masters Programme in Humanities in Université de Provence, France. She returned to us as Acting Information Officer on a part-time basis from May 2009 to August 2010 and assisted with the first Young Mental Health Ireland Conference held in October 2009. Camille was also instrumental in developing the new look website which was launched by the then Taoiseach, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D. to coincide with World Mental Health Day. Camille left us to take up a permanent post with Irish Horizons Destination Management Company. We wish Camille every success in her new role. Camille Afchain

Kate Byrne – New

MHI Calendar


Plans are underway for the 2012 MHI calendar, which will be available in early December, and a copy will be sent to all volunteers.  The MHI Calendar can also be ordered in December online at www.  or phone 012841166 or email info@ 

Kate Byrne has left her post as Development Officer in Donegal. We wish Kate every success in her future endeavours. Kate Byrne

MHI Christmas Cards We know Christmas is far away but we would like to take the opportunity to remind you that MHI Christmas cards are available in packs of 12 (2 of each sort) with envelopes at 7.50 per pack. If you would like to order some cards, please contact Lisa at Mensana House 01-2841166 or email

All cards printed full colour on 300gsm silk Gloss laminated on outside Supplied in packs of 12 (2 of each sort) with envelopes Folded size: 120mm x 177mm




Getting to know you… Michael Roberts, Sligo MHA What car do you drive?

I drive a green Escort Astra, 01- on the number plate, and due for replacement next year. For me, car is simply a means of getting about. I keep mine tidy. Where was your last holiday destination? I was in Tucson, Arizona, in late 2009 visiting my oldest son and his bunch of renegades. The weather was fantastic just to match the company of the gang I was with. I hope to go again later this year. What was the last restaurant you ate in and would you return?

In one paragraph how would you describe yourself? I am a busy person who is involved in a variety of activities. My good health and constitution was inherited from my mother who lived an active life into her mid-90s. I have always been bookish but have tended to read about what I needed to work with in life. I like to work in a team and relish sturdy debate and informed conversation. I see myself as a practical philosopher with a good sense of humour. I have wonderful people in my life; family and friends, who challenge me to be the best I can be. How would your friends describe you?

Michael is always busy, into a lot of projects and, although he is very patient, ‘he does not suffer fools gladly.’ He is a bit mischievous and loves a good laugh, usually at the irony of life. He is a good friend and a difficult opponent. What are your passions in life?


I love a good narrative. Storytelling is what I do all the time. A story captures and contains a past, illuminates the present and constructs possible futures. It is one of our best Irish traditions. Irish Myths and Legends are a treasure trove of great substance that we have half buried and forgotten. I was glad to publish a book of local stories last September, “The Cailleach of Sligo”, just to ensure that stories that were special to me were not forgotten totally.

It was at a local restaurant in Strandhill, a small family-owned restaurant. I eat there sometimes when I don’t feel like cooking. The food, as usual, was very good, the prices are moderate and the company is equally good. I will definitely go back again and soon. Last book you read?

I have just finished “The Mind in the Cave” by David Lewis-Williams. It surveys the artwork put on the cave walls, 35,000 years ago, in the south of France and tries to explain how it reflects the formation of the minds of the people who produced the artwork. For me, it reflected the mind of the author more than the artists. This book is part of a body of work I am interested in which attempts to understand when and how we became ‘human’ and left the animal stage behind. That is, if evolution is what Darwin said it is? What advice would you offer on how to deal with the stress of living in Ireland today?

We create most of our own stress or we allow ourselves to become stressed. Like all demons the best thing to do with stress is to starve it of energy and attention. Deal with what is at hand today and keep one eye only on the future as it has a way of taking care of itself. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Enjoy life today. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never arrive. My Mammy, a very wise woman, told me that.

And the worst?

Take care of Number 1, yourself, and the rest will take care of itself. A selfish acquaintance told me that. Have you a 'bug-bear' in life?

I am not quite sure what this question means. I try to deal with the world as it is and not let any one issue become too over-blown. So, maybe the answer is a plain NO. I don’t have a ‘bug-bear’ in my life. However, I do get and give bear hugs, regularly. Does that count? Why did you get involved in your local Mental Health Association?

I’ve been involved in this general area of health and wellbeing, officially and unofficially, for quite a long time and thought I might have something useful to contribute. My mother was involved in Sligo MHA many years ago. Maybe it will become a family tradition. Who would you like to see as Minister for Health and why? I think John Crown, oncologist, now in Seanad Éireann, would do the job in the best interests of the whole population of this country. He would do this through a proper national service system with the major emphasis on service. He is an excellent person to deal with a practical and caring approach to life and death.

Have you any ideas on how to recruit and retain volunteers for local MHAs? I would ensure that the general population of our area knows what Sligo MHA is there for, with a big emphasis on ‘health’, and publicly and regularly invite them to come along and get involved for their own good and that of us all. You win 2 million in the lottery next week, what would you do?

I would put 100,000 into a low-risk investment for my family welfare. 900,000 would go into a Trust account to educate my own children further and to ensure my grandchildren can do whatever college they are capable of and wish to do. Any residue can go to their children. The final one million would go to GOAL to build homes.

Entertainment Food and Drink Crossword

Sudoku Puzzle Sudoku Puzzle How to play: The numbers 1 through 9 will appear once only in each row, column, and 3x3 zone. There are 9 such zones in each Sudoku grid. There is only one correct solution to each Sudoku. Good luck! Difficulty level: medium

1 4














6 2





1 3




9 4

3 8 5



Solution to Crossword Puzzle


9 2 8 7 1 5 4 3 6

4 1 7 2 3 6 8 5 9

5 6 3 9 8 4 1 2 7

17 8

Sudoku Puzzle Solution 6 9 1 4 7 3 2 8 5

13 15

7 3 4 5 2 8 6 9 1

6 7 8

2 8 5 6 9 1 3 7 4


e.g. twisted shapes of barley sugar (6) Cut of steak from the hindquarters (4) Melon-shaped fruit also called ‘papaya’ (6) Strong coffee made under steam pressure (8) Cultivated plant that’s found in a bird’s gullet? (4) Italian aperitif or dessert wine (3,5) Those who do not eat animal products (6) Thin pastry enclosing e.g. fruit, for baking (7) Rioja wine comes from this country (5) Small county associated with fizz for a champagne cocktail! (5) Cream-coloured root vegetables (8) French round flat cakes or pancakes (8)

1 7 6 3 5 2 9 4 8

1 2 3 4

8 5 2 1 4 9 7 6 3

8 Type of loose-skinned tangerine (7) 9 Young pilchard, often tinned (7) 10 Used to line the bottom of macaroon biscuits (4,5) 11 e.g. conchiglie or fusilli (5) 12 Does some housework and lightly sprinkles e.g. flour! (5) 14 Chickens’ bits – could make dreams come true? (9) 16 Fine China tea with a smoky flavour (7,8) 20 Gives e.g. a light coating of sugar (9) 22 Dance for a spicy Tex-Mex sauce! (5) 24 Tough outer layers of cheeses (5) 26 Small round thick fillet steak (9) 28 Cut of beef from the top of the hind leg (7) 29 Sharp-tasting liquor added to cocktails (7)

3 4 9 8 6 7 5 1 2



Calendar of Events Event: Date: Venue: Contact:

Adjudicator Training Workshop 21st September 2011 at 7.30 pm Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley, Dublin 22 Elaine Corcoran

Event: Date: Venue: Contact:

Adjudicator Training Workshop 28th September 2011 at 7.30 pm Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath Elaine Corcoran

Event: Date: Venue: Contact:

World Mental Health Day 10th October 2011 Nationwide Ted Tierney / Elaine Corcoran / Barbara Davis

Mensana News Summer 2011 Production Team Ted Tierney Deputy CEO Elaine Corcoran Administrative Officer

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Anna Ogarek Administrative Officer

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Mensana News is your communication with local MHAs and other associations. We want to hear about what you are doing and any exciting iniatives you are involved in. Why not put pen to paper and let us know what you are doing in your area to promote mental health. Are you involved: - in fund-raising? - trying to educate the public? - with young people? - helping to run and organise community residences? If you are don’t keep it to yourself - tell us about it. Articles, photographs, comments and suggestions are all welcome. Please forward by email to or by post at the address above.

Mensana News is published by Mental Health Ireland. MHI is a national voluntary organisation which aims to promote positive mental health and to actively support persons with a mental illness, their families and carers by identifying their needs and advocating their rights. Mental Health Ireland is made up of a network of 104 local Mental Health Associations (MHAs) throughout the country who are affiliated to and share the same aims and objectives as the national body. Mental Health Ireland is affiliated to Mental Health Europe and the World Federation for Mental Health.

Mensana News summer 2011  
Mensana News summer 2011  

Mensana News summer 2011