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World Mental Health Day 2015 – Dignity in Mental Health


Health and Social Care Board and Public Health Agency Work with People with Lived Experience to Improve Mental Health Services

The first of these resources, ‘Your Guide to Mental Health Services’, provides people with information on what to expect from their Mental Health Services.The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Health and Social Care Board today launched two new information resources for people accessing mental health services in Northern Ireland.

Your Guide to Mental Health Services’  in pocket-sized format, is a summary of the ‘You in Mind Regional Mental Health Care Pathway’ which was launched on World Mental Health Day 2014.  It has been designed by, and for, people with lived experience and their families across Northern Ireland.  Explaining the key steps involved when mental health care is required, the leaflet will be provided to every person referred to secondary Mental Health Services.

The launch today recognises World Mental Health Day which is observed on 10 October every year.  The day provides an opportunity for all those working or interested in mental health issues to talk about their work, and what can be done to improve the experience and lives of people with mental health needs.

Welcoming the launch, Fionnuala McAndrew, Director of Social Services and Children, HSCB, said:  “The focus of this year’s World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of what can be done to ensure that people with mental health problems can live with dignity.  With this in mind, we wish to acknowledge the value we place on working alongside people with lived experience of mental health treatment and care.  By co-producing Mental Health Services which are more personalised and person-focused we can improve the experience of people with mental health problems.

“The resources launched today have been jointly developed by people with lived experience, carers and professionals involved in commissioning and providing care.  Through inclusion in decision-making and involvement in the development of information resources we aim to ensure that people with mental health conditions can continue to live with dignity.

Praising the partnership ethos central to the development of this valuable information resource, Eileen Shevlin, individual with lived experience, said: “I am amazed every day at how far I have come since I was asked to become involved in co-production and co-delivery within Mental Health Services.  I have gone from being very unwell with no hope of a meaningful future to being positive, enthusiastic and passionate in any way I can.  It has opened many doors for me.  Quite simply co-production keeps me well.”

‘You In Mind – Talking Yourself Well, a Guide to Mental Health Psychological Therapies’, the second of the information resources, provides a guide and model for understanding the provision of psychological therapies at all levels of need and severity with respect for psychological wellbeing. The guide is developed to strengthen and embed the psychological therapies into practice across all Mental Health Services.

Bridie McElhill, Consultant Clinical Psychologist with BHSCT, and co-author of the Guide continued:  “You in Mind – Talking Yourself Well summarises the breadth of therapy options that are recommended for a wide range of mental health problems.  ‘Psychological Therapy’, otherwise known as ‘talking therapy’ is for anyone who is experiencing emotional difficulties.  Sometimes it is easier to talk to someone who does not know you, in this case a therapist, who is not a relative or friend.  You can talk one-to-one with a therapist, or in a group or as a family.  Although there are many different types of talking therapy, they have a similar aim: to make you feel better, or assist with helping you cope better with the challenges that are facing you. This Guide provides a reference for anyone who seeks information on what can help.”