HSE establishing local forums for mental health service users, their families, carers and supporters in the South East

by admin on 11/01/2018

The HSE’s community healthcare services in the South East – as part of working with people who use mental health services and with their family members, carers and supporters – are establishing new, local forums in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.

The local forum will exist as a resource for service users and family members, carers and supporters to voice their experiences, raise issues and be consulted and involved in mental health services developments in their area.

The establishment of the forums are a development following on from recommendations in the national mental health strategy “A Vision for Change” and the HSE’s own national strategy for service user involvement. The HSE’s 2015 mental health division operational plan included the strategic priority “that Service users, families and carers are central to the design, planning, delivery and evaluation of services.”

With an increased public focus on mental health in mind and an emphasis on the HSE’s South East Community Healthcare services working collaboratively with service users, family members and carers, information meetings on the subject – open to all interested parties – are being held as follows:

  • Monday 15th January at 6pm – Seven Oakes Hotel, Carlow.
  • Tuesday 16th January at 6pm – Ormond Hotel, Kilkenny.
  • Wednesday 17th January at 6pm – Clonmel Park Hotel, Clonmel, South Tipperary.
  • Monday 22nd January at 6pm – Clayton White’s Hotel, Wexford.
  • Wednesday 24th January at 6pm – Treacy’s Hotel, Waterford.

Further meetings are also being planned for the Dungarvan, New Ross, Enniscorthy, Gorey, Carrick on Suir and Cashel/Tipperary Town areas.

The nine Community Healthcare service areas throughout the state have each recently appointed an Area Lead for Mental Health Engagement, with Paul Fallon being in place to serve the South East (services in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford).

Speaking about the information meetings, one of the aims of which is to set up mental health forums, Paul Fallon said:

“The purpose of my post is to consult and present the views of mental health service users, family members and carers through engagement and partnership and to influence decision making at area management level in the South East. I have already held some meetings and I am now looking forward to conducting more, as one of the early steps in this important work.”

“Along with my colleagues in the Community Healthcare services in the South East, I want to hear from people around the South East, as to how we can further develop mechanisms for engagement of service users, their family members and carers. I will be dedicated to allowing for their involvement in the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of mental health services.”

“Significant in, and to, all of this will be the local forums. At these meetings, I will be introducing our project and proceed from there to guidelines for the local forums – which we will be coming from the community and represent the voices of those with experience of our services. The membership of local forums will include service users, family members and carers and others may be invited to attend meetings.”

“My colleagues and I are experts, both by profession and experience. I will talk about my role on the evening and also my background as a family member. I have moved especially to the South East to take up this role, so I have confidence in this project and I think it will be of benefit to everyone concerned with mental health services.”

“I look forward to a good attendance at the meetings and to working with as many people as possible in the South East in my role as an Area Lead for Mental Health Engagement.”

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