At the 17th Annual Conference of the Irish Association of Suicidology held in Derry, Dan Neville TD, President, Irish Association of Suicidology welcomed the theme of the conference ‘’Building Resilience and Promoting Recovery’
Deputy Neville said “At different stages of life we face challenges and difficulties and this is especially so during the present economic crisis. It is important that we develop individual strengths to bounce back from such challenges that life presents.
“It is important to adapt to change and to draw on one’s own strengths, to protect our mental health and to plan to do so. There is no one formula to do this as each individual has different strengths and difficulties. It is important to take care of one’s mental health by meeting friends and to get involved in leisure time activities. Too often in times of difficulty people do not have the mental energy to do this. Exercise and diet are vital during such times.
“In extremely difficult times, such as if there is at present, a loss in income, a threat to one’s job or home or if there are financial difficulties, particular care has to be paid to mental health and well-being. Too often, people resort to alcohol or drugs to ease the mental pain. If the extreme mental stress is persisting, it is important that help is sought and that people share the burden with friends, family and seek professional assistance and that they are not inhibited in doing so.
“Unfortunately in many case, we still delay or do not seek assistance. While things have improved, stigma still persists which is hurtful and isolating and causes prejudice against those who are mentally unwell. Stigma excludes and marginalises people, it limits access to employment, damages social relationships and participation and it reduces self-esteem and dignity.
Recovery of ones mental health is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a full meaningful and participating life in the community, while striving to achieve his or her full potential.
The concept of recovery from mental illness is a wide subject and each individual has to find their own way and strategy for recovery. Recovery path is unique to each person.
It is important that the mental health services have a strong committment to recovery for those suffering mental ill health. This must reflect the belief that it is possible for all those suffering from mental illness to achieve control over their lives, to recover their self esteem and move towards a life where they expierience a sense of belonging and participation.
The lack of appropriate services for those ill in the community creates difficulties for the mental health services and for a large number of individuals themselves. They suffer distress from their illness, too many are at high risk of ending up homeliss, becoming involved in petty crime, bieng inappripriately imprisoned or being in a state of social isolation and derilection. Because of this lack of services those with enduring metal illnessare at risk of repeated involuntary detention.
A modern mental health service is best delivered in the community and in 2012 and again this year a special allocation of €35 million was provided for mental health services to be used primarily to further strengthen Community Mental Health Teams in both adult and chisdren’s mental health services, to advance activities in the area of suicide prevention, to initiate the provision of psychological counsielling services in primary care and to facilitiate the transfer of mental health service users from institutional to community based care. It is important that in the forhcoming budget that a further €35 million is allocated to continue the very necessary improvements for the services which because of neglect over decades is coming from a very low base.