Monday 18th July at 11am in Singleton House, Laurence Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth
- Thank you for the kind invitation to launch this important new Domestic Abuse & Mental Health Information Pack.
- As a newly appointed Minister with responsibility for mental health, I welcome the opportunity to be associated with this launch as I attach great importance to the role played by voluntary organisations in providing services, information and imparting knowledge when creating a new initiative.
- The collaboration that has taken place between Amen, Women’s Aid and the Mental Health Services in compiling this pack reinforces that it is only by working together, and especially with people who have boots on the ground, that we can make informed, effective changes.
- Historically, both mental health issues and cases of domestic abuse were not talked about openly. This led to a culture of shame and stigma which remained unchanged until recent times but is gradually being overcome at many levels.
- Talking about mental health should be as normal as talking about a physical injury or illness – by doing this we will encourage each other to seek help, prevent problems becoming worse, and achieve a solution or recovery. Quite simply, this should be the objective in every case.
- Traditionally, men have been less inclined to talk about their problems, possibly leading to a higher mental illness incidence, with associated treatment problems.
- Thankfully, society is changing, albeit more slowly than we would like it to, but with initiatives such as this information pack, I hope that we are moving towards a society where we all feel safer to talk about these issues.
- By building safety plans into care plans, it is envisaged that patients and professionals will learn the skills to identify abuse in relationships and give individuals knowledge to move away from unsafe situations.
- The recognition of domestic abuse by both survivor and healthcare worker will hopefully encourage and empower people to seek support, information and assistance.
- I sincerely hope that the inclusion of domestic abuse in a patient’s care plan will encourage referrals to support organisations and assist survivors on their pathway to recovery.
- I understand that this is a pilot project, to be rolled out for both professionals and in-patients in St. Brigid’s Psychiatric Hospital in Ardee. I wish the project team all the best and hopefully we will see packs disseminated nationally in the near future.
- I must thank all the employees and volunteers who help organisations like Amen and Women’s Aid to work with people in distress. I wish you all the best of luck with your future endeavours.