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April 18, 2014

Group strives to ‘light a fire’ under AVFC implementation

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Pictured at the launch of the Mental Health Reform’s ’Guiding A Vision for Change — Agenda for Action’ were: Eddie Molloy, Chair of Mental Health Reform; Deirdre Purcell, author and broadcaster; Orla Barry, Director of Mental Health Reform; and Martha Griffin, Mental Health Project Manager

By Pat Kelly.

Mental Health Reform (MHR), a collective consisting of 23 members — including Amnesty International, Bodywhys, Headstrong, Simon Communities, St Patrick’s University Hospital, Rehab and the College of Psychiatry of Ireland — last week launched its ‘Guiding A Vision for Change — Agenda for Action’ strategy aimed at establishing a speedier implementation of the reforms.

Among other measures, the group called for: a cross-departmental implementation plan in mental health services; a cultural change in mental health services; an increased emphasis on mental health promotion; an overhaul of existing mental health legislation; legislation to underpin implementation of AVFC; and the establishment of an accountable, executive office in the HSE responsible for implanting AVFC.

Speaking to Irish Medical Times at the launch, MHR Director Orla Barry said: “Part of MHR’s manifesto and the reason we are doing this at this time is to refresh and ‘light a fire’ under AVFC and to put our energy behind it and to refresh our commitment to it.”

Another new measure the group called for was the appointment of a well-known public figure to spearhead mental health awareness, in the mode of Gay Byrne, who fronts the Road Safety Authority’s awareness campaign. Author and broadcaster Deirdre Purcell, who was one of the panel of speakers, also called for a “shock” publicity campaign in the vein of the road safety awareness advertisements.

pat.kelly@imt.ie