• Before posting anything about COVID-19, READ THIS FIRST! COVID-19 and Misinformation (UPDATED)
    Misinformation and/or conspiracy theories about this topic, even if intended as humor, will not be tolerated!

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
To be honest i don't know exactly what the budget will mean for mental health and suicide prevention or the provision of specialist services like adolescent care but the fact that suicide or suicide prevention weren't mentioned does not auger well for a major effort in the area of preventing suicide. I didn't see mentioned any emphasis on ensuring funding was put aside for the implementation of the new strategy being compiled by the expert group on mental health but maybe that is coming and aside from a welcome 400 new places in community care there didn't seem to be any concrete proposal. Maybe there will be funding allocated, it was kept very vague as part of the disability package umbrella. Vagueness when money is being allocated is not really a good thing although in looking for attention for mental health you learn to be optimistic. It's hard to know but hopefully this is a reversal in fortunes for the mental health sector that has received only €90 million extra since 1997 up until the estimates. (the 90 million meant a drop from 11% of health spending to just over 6.5%)
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
If anyone finds out more details of what the budget will mean for Mental health in particular after the strong focus on the disability area in general would they describe them, please.
The irish times health supplement has the results of an eight year study on suicides in the whole of Co. Kildare from 95-02. Young, unemployed men were found to be the most at risk group. 84% of the suicides were in men, 32 men aged 20-30 committed suicide in the eight years out of a total of 109. It's published in the journal of clinical forensic medicine. There is also a serious point about the difference between suicides recorded and actual suicides. "The issue of some coroners either not returning a verdict of suicide where necessary or the death not being recorded as suicide on form 104 is a matter of grave concern". Form 104 is added to a coroners report for the central statistics office recording of deaths, it gets the opinion of the Garda inspector as to whether it was a suicide or other type of death. Without accurate statistics it is very hard to get a handle on the situation on the ground.

The Central mental hospital was announced as being moved in with the new mountjoy prison on a new site. Putting them together does imply a close connection between the two and there are a lot of various groups calling for the two to be kept seperate so as not to further increase the stigma around mental illness. it's on the Front page of the Irish Times.

Also a couple of stories about: anti-depressants being over prescribed in mild symptoms of depression instances and eVox.ie sponsored by Mental health ireland for young people.
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
There's a big need to invest in the mental health services now because people do suffer without proper treatment. Prevention is one of the key concepts when planning for general health issues and in much the same way if not more so it's vital in mental health difficulties. Finding a problem early allows for early treatment and can minimise the chances of a problem escalating. That's why investment in community care and education programs can make a difference in ireland's mental health and not just greater investment in acute hospital services. Perhaps it's sometimes hard to see that investment in mental health can not only ease peoples suffering but also save the economy money in the short run (less sick days needed) and in the long run in society in general. And that someone with severe mental health difficulties not only affects that person but also those around her/him.

The irish examiner yesterday had a couple of articles one about depression saying that from a public health point of view there wasn't much evidence that anti-depressants had reduced the incidence of depression. Also the point made by Dermot walsh the lead researcher in the Health Research Board report on mental illness in ireland "many clinicians claim depression is the main factor in suicide. If this is the case, no comfort can be found in the fact that the increase in prescribing anti-depressants closely mirrors the increase in suicide nationally." Contentious points, no doubt.

Also the IE has a story about a man who was found hung (coroner recorded an open verdict). His wife had a problem with the drugs he was on. The Irish Times yesterday had an article about the constitutionality of the Mental Health Act of 1945. Articles 6 and 34 were breached by the act which limits the ability of people to challenge actions done under the legislation which is to do with involuntary admissions. Looks like new legislation will be needed.
 

olddryasdust

New member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Messages
3
The irish examiner yesterday had a couple of articles one about depression saying that from a public health point of view there wasn't much evidence that anti-depressants had reduced the incidence of depression.
Anti depressants are never going to reduce the incidence of depression - that's not what antidepressants do and that's not what incidence means.
Antidepressants are used to treat people who are already depressed. They are not preventative drugs: they will never have an impact on the incidence of depression as a disease as incidence is a measure of new cases found in a unit time. Antidepressants may have an effect on prevalence (the total number of cases per unit time, new and old), but prevalence is not mentioned.
The only way incidence as a measure of disease is going to change is by better preventative measures.

Also the point made by Dermot walsh the lead researcher in the Health Research Board report on mental illness in ireland "many clinicians claim depression is the main factor in suicide. If this is the case, no comfort can be found in the fact that the increase in prescribing anti-depressants closely mirrors the increase in suicide nationally." Contentious points, no doubt.
This is not particularly contentious, nor particularly enlightening. If depression is on the increase, then any factors secondary to depression will also increase. Such as the rate of prescription of antidepressants - and equally, the rate of suicide, which is and continues to be one of the major problems associated with depression.

We have discussed before how most of the factors influencing suicide rates are social ones. The biggest determinants are (a) comorbid depression and (b) alcohol.
Depression and alcohol use are strongly influenced by social factors.

Now, we can increase GP uptake of the depressed and have them moved on to mental health services, and we can increase the number of mental health staff ad nauseam (which is a good idea), but we'll still have done nothing about the social factors which probably underlie suicide.

In short, this is a matter for social policy beyond even the level of mental health strategy. I can't see that this makes it any easier to solve or even face.

Medical services get their funding based on outcome measures (I've said this before; I still don't think it's how the world should work, but it is...); surgical services and emergency services will always show better outcome measures than mental health (since they deal usually in less chronic, more curable problems). While their incidence rates may be higher, their prevalences are often much lower - and they get the funding.

Now, can we please, please, please move on to some other topic of conversation? This thread has been looming on this board for weeks - or can we have a separate Mental Health board? I'm sorry, but I'm tired of this issue; it's not that it's not important, it's just that there are other things we could be talking about.

I'll try and find a few.
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
We have discussed before how most of the factors influencing suicide rates are social ones. The biggest determinants are (a) comorbid depression and (b) alcohol.
Depression and alcohol use are strongly influenced by social factors.

Now, we can increase GP uptake of the depressed and have them moved on to mental health services, and we can increase the number of mental health staff ad nauseam (which is a good idea), but we'll still have done nothing about the social factors which probably underlie suicide.

In short, this is a matter for social policy beyond even the level of mental health strategy. I can't see that this makes it any easier to solve or even face.
But would you not agree that where the social problem manifests itself most intensely should not also be where most attention is focused in attempting to research and ultimately most effectively work to solve the social problems in question and from where drivers of change should come from in order to minimise the recurrence and then allow the medical model work more effectively on people who aren't affected by the social changes for the better.
Now, can we please, please, please move on to some other topic of conversation? This thread has been looming on this board for weeks - or can we have a separate Mental Health board? I'm sorry, but I'm tired of this issue; it's not that it's not important, it's just that there are other things we could be talking about.
i understand if my persistance in constantly raising Mental health and issues surrounding suicide frustrates you and others and i will do my best not to provoke unnecessary arguments/debate but for a topic and a health area that is at the bottom of the pile in funding and most health care decision-makers minds i don't believe having one place where it's towards the top is such a bad thing. As for a seperate mental health forum, the website would get very cluttered if the departmental areas were split up and if only mental health were split off, what signal would that send about the status of mental health in relation to Health in general?
I'll try and find a few.
as will I
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
Fianna Fáil Deputy for Roscommon, Michael Finneran T.D. has called for the placing of mental health firmly in the public health sphere, and for a Report to be prepared immediately on how this can be best implemented to assist those who are most in need of primary care.
http://www.politics.ie/modules.php?name ... e&sid=6702

It's good to see a backbench government TD talking about mental health in a more proactive and less defensive way. Hopefully he will be able to have some influence with the Minister with responsibility for mental health and the budget deciders. he also praised the two reports commissioned by the Expert group on mental health on the consultation process for the new mental health strategy. One concern would be that these reports will only serve to only look like there is action and to validate in a limited way what contributors to the consultation process have done. Limited, because the real test of validating contributions will be implementation of what people have contributed.

Yesterdays Irish Times health supplement had it's interview with Dr Dermot Walsh. He had the opinion that both patients and doctors needed extra education to deal with over prescription.
 

badinage

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Messages
776
today's Irish Time reported there were 11,200 cases of individuals being treated in hospital for self-harm or attempted suicide this year, an overall increase of 7% on 2003. The increase in males was 8%. I found that quite shocking. What could have caused such a sudden massive rise in the past year? or has the rate been increasing by 7% every year?
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
today's Irish Time reported there were 11,200 cases of individuals being treated in hospital for self-harm or attempted suicide this year, an overall increase of 7% on 2003. The increase in males was 8%. I found that quite shocking. What could have caused such a sudden massive rise in the past year? or has the rate been increasing by 7% every year?
http://www.nsrf.org/npr.htm#desc
The report for 2002 was the first to have figures from all the healthboard areas, the 2001 report only has full figures for 4 healthboard areas so it's hard to extrapolate trends from two full years and one partial year but all the same the suicide figures have increased in recent years so it's not unreasonable to suggest the same could be happening for the attempted suicide/deliberate self-harm figures. The numbers are shocking, that a large chunk of such people don't receive follow up treatment automatically is shocking and the lack of political movement in an area like mental health and suicide prevention is frustrating.
All the broadsheets had this report covered on Friday and the Irish Examiner had an editorial about it urging action.

Yesterdays Sunday Independent had a very well written article about a lot of the issues facing Ireland in relation to suicide and how it must be brought to the top of the agenda and also had the tragic story of a mother who lost her son to suicide. There's also an article on some practical things to help those suicidal over the holiday season and beyond.

This thread begins on a less than hopeful and cynical tone. It would not be unreasonable to continue to be very cynical about the political commitment to reversing the drop in funding for mental health as a percentage of total health spending. That there are things that can be done is surely now not in question whether it be in the form of greater research, education to counteract the stigma around mental health difficulties as well as public health, suicide prevention funding, greater facilities in the community mental health area and better specialist care facilities to treat people appropriately. What is in question is whether there is a will to change. To replace hollow platitudes with real commitment, a strong message and funding on the ground...
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
There was quite a lot of coverage of the suicide issue and mental health in general over the holiday period. The Sunday Independent had some thought provoking commentary from the Archbishop of Armagh about a 'culture of despair' in the country. It was an interesting way to look at how the changes over the last few of years could have impacted on the level of suicide. Other articles by maeve Sheehan and Donal Lynch were thoughtful insights into the tragic suicides in Monaghan last month and mental health in general respectively.

The Irish Examiner's claire o sullivan had an interesting look at depression and what happens for people on the ground with a low level of clinical psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists in the public sector. Also the point was made about the lack of political urgency on the mental health services because we don't get the protests about the standard of that care on the streets.

The Brenda Power in the Sunday Times Irish had an informative article about suicide and the level of awareness about the subject in the community and in the media. A point was made about the government not needing to go on an expensive marketing campaign about suicide. While a shock campaign guilting people into action would probably be very damaging there are more subtle forms of marketing, getting into schools and work-places, and appropriate ads on TV like that Samaritans one that was on over Christmas could do a lot to put suicide prevention and mental health in general on a higher awareness footing. And give individuals some of the knowledge needed to deal with mental health difficulties and suicide.

The irish Times' Syliva thompson had a very good piece on awareness about suicide in the health supplement year review edition. The article talks about the use of the term 'died in tragic circumstances' in the media was a euphemism for suicide.

The Sunday Tribune had a strong article by Dan Neville TD talking about the funding of mental health and the impact of suicides and attempted suicides on society and some of the factors believed to contribute to suicide.

The Indo and Star had pieces reporting a call for greater action on suicide prevention.

There doesn't seem to be the politcal urgency to match the calls that have come for action. Maybe the new year air will help freshen the approach.
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
There are reports in all the main newspapers today from the Oireachtas committee on health and children. Representatives of Aware and Schizophrenia Ireland were quoted. Julie Healy of Aware talked about the lack of spending on suicide prevention by the government especially when compared to road accidents eventhough suicide claims more lives than road accidents in Ireland. The drop in funding in relative terms for mental health was also described. John Saunders of Schizophrenia Ireland described the phenomenon of patients being discharged before they are 'completely well' to make room for new patients because there isn't the room. There is also a Seventy percent re-admission rate in psychiatric hospitals according to Saunders.

There was the usual talk to try to prioritise Mental health by a government backbencher. Hopefully with the new caring image of this government will ensure that they will provide substantial investment in suicide prevention and mental health in general.
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
The irish times has an article about the irregular use of electro convulsive therapy (shock treatment) within the irish psychiatric services. The mental health commission will be investigating why it happens more often in different health board areas. The discrepancy was described as 'disturbing'. It will be interesting to see what comes of the investigation and what action if recommended will be taken.

The irish independent has a report on a 12 month study on people who had arrived at one hospital A&E. The study found a significant number had not received any follow up treatment and that one third of those who agreed to be interviewed had self-harmed again. While the figures are small for statistical analysis, larger studies could well find the same type of figures and the parasuicide registry has done work on this.
 

Libertarian01

New member
Joined
Jan 24, 2005
Messages
1
electro convulsive therapy is only effective in extreme cases and Is a barabaric "treatment" that should be a last resort.
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
There are reports today in the Irish Times and Irish Independent that the suicide rate in Clare rose by 50% last year to 20. half of that total were men between 40 and 60. There was also a report about a man in Lucan who died after pouring petrol over himself. He was dead on arrival to hospital. Foul play was being ruled out. The 2002 figures for suicide were revised upwards by the CSO from 451 to 478. The 451 figure was given in a Dáil reply in 2003. Dan Neville TD brought up the issue of under-reporting of suicides in ireland in the irish times report. He is reported in both newspapers as calling for a suicide prevention program similar to ones in Australia and Norway.

The controversy over the move of the Central mental hospital is again making the news with the IT reporting the irish college of psychatrists criticising the move to beside a prison as stigmatising patients and they said that their organisation was not contacted before the move was announced.
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
The Labour court in a landmark case has given an award for a person who returned to a job he had been in for 14 years after stay in a psychiatric hospital for a mental health difficulty and found what the labour court has ruled on as discriminatory treatment. The Equality authority CE said 'Significant stigma can all too readily accompany a diagnosis of mental illness'. Hopefully this case will emphasis in people's minds that stigmatising people with a mental health difficulty is not acceptable. It was reported in the three braodsheets.

the Irish Examiner has a piece about the health committee of the dail and the tánaiste pointing the finger at consultants for the delay in setting up Tribunals which would be used to give independent assesment to involuntary patients in psychiatric hospitals. There are up to six hundred involuntary patients at any one time in the services.
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
There's coverage of mental health in the Irish Examiner today. It describes the difficulties in setting up tribunals to deal with people who have been put in hospital without their permission in an independent way. It highlights some of the worries about the use of ECT and the need for further study into its use. The Editorial is strong in its call for a greater priority to be given to the vulnerable patient by those in a decision-making role.

The Star has a follow-up to a story about a fifteen-year-old who is suicidal and having great difficulty getting adequate care. Her mother was very worried about her harming herself without proper atttention. She was taken to a juvenile centre on the north side of Dublin against their wishes. An emergency care order was obtained to do it. A judge was deciding on it this morning.

The Central Mental Hospital saga continues with some attention now focusing on the legality of deciding the site for the prison and hospital without giving locals any input into the planning process.
 

magic_norhan

Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2003
Messages
67

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
While the Church made some statements in December regarding suicide some saw this as being hypocritical
I thought it was a Church statement in the right direction. Progress is progress. There is of course the reality that being stigmatised about ones sexuality can be a compounding factor (even a central factor) in Mental health difficulties.

For a long time suicide in this country was never talked about and it meant that those who were suicidal were less likely to talk about their problems and get helped and those that were left behind either hid the truth and suffered in silence, told the truth and were shunned or never found out the truth about their family members death. The beginnings of more openness about suicide in this country can make a difference and people who in the past stigmatised others with mental health difficulties are educating themselves with the result that treatment can improve. The funding that was for so long let slip in relation to the rest of the health services with the usual excuses like -putting more money in wouldn't be spent well- eventhough there were good reports for improving services gathering dust on the shelves since '84. The hope is that times are changing for the mental health services and suicide prevention in particular.
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
The Irish Times health Supplement has a few stories related to Mental Health and suicide prevention today. The outstanding one is about a study into under 18s in the Clonmel area by the SEHB which found that one in six young people had a mental health problem. In secondary school age the percentage was 24%, almost one in four. The precise breakdown between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, depression, suicidal thoughts, learning disabilites and others will come later. The sample was 4,000.

There was also a Conference in Cork last week about mental health organised by the Cork Advocacy Network and a conference on suicide in Leitrim this week will be organised by a group who have lost people to suicide. Grow also have a conference this week.

It will take time to ensure greater investment in suicide prevention and the mental health services as a part of the health services takes place. The percentage of health spending on mental health hasn't fallen as a percentage down through the years for no reason; it hasn't been at the top of decision-makers minds, it hasn't met with a strong and vocal patient advocate lobby group and the stigma around Mental health problems makes it a difficult subject for people in general to relate to. Peoples attitudes won't change overnight but with a little help the progress that has been made can be built upon so that when people do find themselves in difficulty they will not be ashamed or afraid to seek help and talk about it.
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
Neville calls on O'Malley to clarify Dáil remarks
Tuesday, February 15
Discuss Health & Children on the Politics.ie Forum

More news from Health & Children
Fine Gael Deputy Health Spokesperson Dan Neville TD will place a Dáil Question calling for Minister Tim O'Malley to clarify his extraordinary statement in the Dáil last week that Deputy Neville's raising of problems in the mental health services was becoming tiresome.

"The Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, with special responsibility for the psychiatric services, stated during Priority Question time in the Dáil last week: 'The Deputy speaks about stigma, but a constant reiteration and repetition about the problems in the mental health services is becoming a bit tiresome to many organisations'.
http://www.politics.ie/modules.php?name ... e&sid=6978
Usually if there are problems in the health services they are highlighted by various pressure groups from the Opposition to patient groups to unions to professional groups. The problems in the hospital A&E departments get mentioned every week prominently. Can you imagine the reaction of those pressure groups focused on the A&E problems if Mary Harney turned around and said there were organisations that felt it was becoming a bit tiresome for the issue to be constantly raised?
 

crosswind

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
160
The Irish Independent has a small article on doctors themselves being at a high risk of suicide with female doctors at three to four times the general population risk of suicide and male doctors twice the risk. It was at the first conference organised by the ICGP.

The Leitrim conference on suicide starts tomorrow and the Grow conference is also on tomorrow.
 

New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top Bottom