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€9m in to reform mental health services across Ireland [23/11/17]

Minister Jim Daly announces grants

Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD has announced that €9m has been awarded in grants to support the reform of mental health services.

The Minister said, “The vision for this funding is to help achieve recovery-orientated mental health services across Ireland. This focus on recovery means the person with mental health difficulties will be at the centre of the design and delivery of services, so that individuals are supported to make their own choices and to lead full lives in the community.”

This funding is part of the Service Reform Fund (SRF) which was established by the Department of Health, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the HSE and Genio to support the implementation of reforms in disability and mental health services in Ireland. The SRF represents a total combined investment of €45m by the Department and Atlantic to re-configure existing services towards more person-centred supports which are also more transparent, accountable and cost-effective, in line with government policy.

“There have been some very innovative and successful examples of reform in mental health services around the country in the last ten years underpinned by recovery principles. However, we now need to bring this to a systemic level so that everyone with mental health difficulties in Ireland has the opportunity to access more personalised, community-based and recovery oriented services. This fund comes at an opportune time in the context of our wider mental health reform programme,” stated Anne O’Connor, National Director for Mental Health in the HSE.

Mary Sutton, Country Director for the Atlantic Philanthropies in Ireland added, “The Atlantic Philanthropies are delighted to collaborate with the Irish Government on the Service Reform Fund. Our combined objective is to leave a legacy in Ireland that will see service improvement in mental health not only for the current population, but sustained improvement into the future.”

Funding is being allocated under three streams:

(i)        Advancing Recovery - This stream focuses on embedding recovery practices in existing mental health services. Successful applicants put forward proposals to develop more outward facing services in partnership with service users, families and carers, local communities, the voluntary sector and other mainstream supports.

(ii)        Employment - This stream aims to implement the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) approach to develop opportunities for people with mental health difficulties to remain in, or to access, work in mainstream settings and to support employers in addressing attendant recruitment and retention issues. Individuals will be offered supports to access opportunities which are based on their skills and interests.

(iii)        Community based living - This stream aims to support people with mental health difficulties to identify and address their housing needs and to optimise their opportunities to live independently in the community. Work will be undertaken to develop appropriate pathways towards independent living in partnerships with local authorities and approved housing bodies and other relevant partners as well as customising supports on an individualised basis.  

Madeleine Clarke, Executive Director of Genio stated, “This initiative is not only about the role that services play but also about creating resilient families and local communities that have the capacity to support and value people with mental health difficulties as contributing members of society.”

These grants have been awarded through HSE community structures, Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) around the country. CHOs invited consortia - including people with lived experience, family members, service providers and community groups - to work together to develop the proposals for these grants. Funding has been awarded by the Genio Trust through a rigorous application process jointly assessed by the Genio Trust and the HSE with direct input from service user and family representatives.

Updates will be available through the HSE Community Healthcare Organisations and Genio website www.genio.ie.

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