Mental health and the HSE

 

Sir, – In his recent letter “Does the HSE really listen to patients” (May 4th), Tom Geraghty questions whether “any action” will be taken on foot of the listening exercise carried out by the HSE’s Mental Health Division during 2014. I am happy to inform Mr Geraghty that significant positive actions are under way following this important exercise.

One of the themes identified in the Report of the Listening Exercise was that service users and their supporters should have meaningful involvement in the design and delivery of mental health services. Consequently, through the “Advancing Recovery in Ireland” initiative, we have enhanced our efforts at involving service users and families at local level in designing and co-producing different aspects of how we deliver mental health programmes.

This has resulted in developments such as “recovery colleges”, the engagement of “peer support workers”, “individual placement and support” (an initiative to assist service users to gain or regain and maintain employment) and “involvement centres” (peer-run local support services).

These developments have the potential to significantly shape and improve the future of mental health services over time and overall enhance the experience for service users and their families.

This is being facilitated by the newly appointed HSE National Head of Mental Health Engagement as well as nine local area leads who are putting in place local structures. A key part of the process will be two-way communication, where specific issues raised are responded to by local service providers.

Further information about the work being undertaken by those working in HSE mental health services is available in the mental health division operational plans for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

These plans can be viewed on hse.ie, the HSE website. – Yours, etc,

ANNE O’CONNOR,

National Director

for Mental Health,

HSE,

Dr Steeven’s Hospital,

Dublin 8.