De-stmatisation of mental illness must be a priority for society

Neville calls for de-stigmatisation of mental illnesses

 Fine Gael TD for Limerick and President of the Irish Association of Suicidology, Dan Neville TD, has today (Wednesday) said that despite improvement in recent years, there is still significant stigmatising of mental illnesses such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.

“We all experience varying degrees of mental health. These are the normal ups and downs of life. Like many physical conditions, the experience of mental ill health is unique to the individual.

“Many people are still unnerved by the idea of mental ill health and the various titles of illnesses such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. People who live with these illnesses are often marked out as being different from the rest of society. This is not the case and the key to changing this perception is to de-stigmatise these illnesses. Despite improvement in recent years, there is still significant stigmatising of mental illness as evidenced by surveys completed by Amnesty International and St. Patricks University Hospital, Dublin.

“Recovery of one’s mental health is a journey of healing and transformation which enables a person with a mental health problem to live a full, meaningful and participatory 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 strategy for recovery. The recovery path is unique to each person.

“Our mental health services must have a strong commitment to recovery for those suffering mental ill health. This must be embedded in 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 experience a sense of belonging and participation.

“A more community based service would help mitigate some of the negative socio-economic issues associated with mental illness. Many people with mental illness are at high risk of ending up homeless, becoming involved in petty crime, being inappropriately imprisoned or being in a state of social isolation and dereliction. In fact, those enduring mental illness are at risk of repeated involuntary detention.

“To that end €35 million was allocated for 2012 and 2013 and €20 million has been provided in 2014 for mental health services to be used primarily to further strengthen Community Mental Health Teams in both adult and children’s mental health services, to advance activities in the area of suicide prevention, to initiate the provision of psychological and counselling services in primary care and to facilitate the transfer of mental health service users from institutional to community based care.”

 

ENDS