Tag Archives: Mental Health

This afternoon.

Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

A National Traveller Mental Health Network Protest outside Leinster House.

Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Free Saturday?

‘Postcards In-between’

An evening with Irish creatives centred around ‘cultivating self-compassion’.

At Universal Space, Capel Street, Dublin 1.

Maria writes:

The ‘Postcards In-between’ project initially started with Maria Kelly asking her fellow Irish songwriters to pen a ‘note-to-self’ letter to a version of themselves that they thought might need a helping hand.

The letters became 12 postcards – each one linking to a track on her 2021 debut album, The Sum of the In-between. The project features Abbacaxi, Ciaran Lavery, James Vincent McMorrow, Paul Noonan, Rosie Carney, Runah, Saint Sister, Sammy Copely, Shiv, Sive and Tim Chadwick.

Designed by Irish-French illustrators Nathanaël Roman and Cécilia Noiraud, these postcards will be exhibited in various forms… The exhibition is being run in association with Minding Creative Minds, Ireland’s first 24/7 wellbeing support programme for the entire Irish creative sector.

Tickets here

This morning/afternoon.

Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Members of the Travelling community gathered outside Leinster House to mark International Human Rights Day, and to hand in a petition to  Taoiseach Micheál Martin to take ‘immediate action to address the mental health crisis being experienced by the Traveller community and the denial of Human rights and Institutionalised racism’.

From top: Jimmy Keenan, who lost his wife Bridget to cancer in 2019 and his son Jim at the age of 23 in 2020 to suicide; National Traveller Mental Health Network chairperson Geraldine McDonnell (left) and Acting Chair Maggie McDonagh; Paddy James Collins from Finglas in his own hand-crafted wagon; Members of the travelling community, including singer David Keenan from Ennis and speaker Thomas McCann from the Traveller Counselling Service; A crucifix and momento of Jimmy’s wife and son; Paddy James outside Leinster House.

Sam Boal/RollingNews

This morning.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has found the use of a closed-circuit television camera in a resident’s bedroom at a designated centre for people with disabilities run by the Daughters of Charity Disability Support Services.

Via RTÉ News:

…the inspection identified a number of concerns [-at the north Dublin-based facility’ including the use of restrictive practices, the management of behaviours of concern, the manner in which residents were supported to exercise their personal rights and the management of risk.

The report notes the use of closed-circuit television cameras in resident apartments and in a resident’s bedroom.

…There was significant use of restrictive practices in the centre which primarily included “environmental restraints”.

HIQA finds use of CCTV in resident’s bedroom at centre (RTÉ)


This afternoon.

Ringsend, Dublin 4.


Almost 60% of people say their mental health has been impacted by the pandemic, with younger people more likely to have experienced recent difficulties with their well-being.

The fifth Social Impact of Covid-19 survey, from the Central Statistics Office, gives an insight into the way people’s lives have changed in the last year.

The research – based on an online questionnaire with 1,621 people earlier this month – shows over 15% said they were downhearted or depressed “all or most of the time”, in the four weeks before the survey.

This compares with a figure of 5.5% in a similar study last April during the first wave.

…Life satisfaction is described as “low” by over 40% of those surveyed.

Female respondents were more likely to feel lonely or report that their mental health and well-being had been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Nearly 60% say mental health hit by pandemic – CSO (RTÉ)

This afternoon.

Dáil Eireann at the Convention Centre.

“We have an arm of the government practically going out to Dublin Airport to burn witches live on air. I’m talking about RTÉ. It’s an absolute disgrace. It is oppressive and it is driving anxiety in this state what RTÉ is doing.

“There are massive problems with free media in Ireland.The Irish Times have their hand out looking for money from the government. God Knows they’re entitled to it, they’ve been doing your bidding for a year.

“But where is the free media to come from if the only source – I’m not talking about all media –  but the primary source of income is the Department of Health, is the government?

“Of course they [RTE, Irish Times] are doing the government’s bidding, of course they’re driving the narrative, of course they are attacking people who question what is going on.

“It is oppressive and it is damaging the fabric of our society.”

Independent TD for Clare Michael McNamara


Earlier: Wish You Were Here

Too Big To Fold

Ruairí McKiernan, host of the Love and Courage Podcast

Got the winter blues?

Don’t despair.

The programme of events for January’s First Fortnight Mental Health Art & Culture Festival 2021 has dropped.

Among many highlights is A Community Conversation About Hope In A Time Of Upheaval.

To quote the programme notes:

“It’s a time of great change and huge uncertainty. From the pandemic to politics, there’s lots happening and often not enough space for us to step back, reflect, and join others in meaningful conversation.

What has the past year taught you? What does the future hold? What are your hopes and dreams for ourselves and for our country and planet?

You’re invited to join us for an evening of inspiration, reflection, and connection through a community conversation that welcomes participants from all walks of life. The evening will be hosted by Ruairí McKiernan, host of the chart-topping Love and Courage Podcast and author of the acclaimed bestselling book Hitching for Hope – A Journey into the Heart and Soul of Ireland.”

Nick says: It’s good to talk.

First Fortnight Festival 2021

Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly

This morning.

An open letter to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly from mental health service user Lisa Naylor.

Minister Donnelly,

‘I am a 35 year old mother of one living in Dublin. I won’t bore you with a lengthy backstory, but I have struggled with my mental health for the majority of my life. Depression, self-harm and a personality disorder are just a few of my difficulties. As a result, I have been accessing public and private psychiatric services for 17 years. I have been linked in with my current local mental health clinic in Coolock since 2014.

At the beginning of this year I suffered a pregnancy loss which negatively impacted my mental state. Shortly after this, Covid-19 hit and we went into lockdown and I deteriorated further, relapsing into old, maladaptive coping strategies.

Fortunately, the registrar assigned to me was incredible and offered plenty of support and guidance. She scheduled phone appointments with me every 2-4 weeks (if you aren’t aware, this is considered intensive support by the HSE).

I was still struggling to stay afloat, like many people during this pandemic, but at least I had that lifeline – the appointments with my doctor. Being honest and open with someone over the phone was difficult, but I knew my doctor and trusted her so it made the Covid restricted appointments easier. My depression was worsening but I was coping; I was surviving, with help.

When the phone rang on the 3rd of August I answered immediately. I was in desperate need of that supportive and rational voice on the other end of the phone. However the voice on the other end was unfamiliar.

The registrars had rotated in between my appointments and now a complete stranger was asking me how I was feeling. I don’t think I can accurately describe how unsettling and jarring this was, being asked to show my emotional scars and vulnerability to a stranger. A stranger who hadn’t read my file. The appointment ended with them telling me to continue doing what the previous doctor had advised. It was a waste of time.

My next appointment was scheduled for 3 months’ time. The intensive support had been withdrawn.

Life carried on, Covid continued, my depression and anxiety increased. I had another pregnancy loss. Then lockdown 2 was announced and the months of loneliness, despair and fear overtook me. I sobbed until there were no more tears, until I nearly threw up. Sharp objects started to look so appealing; I drank and ate more trying to quell the growing despair.

My appointment was scheduled for the 3rd of November and I knew I needed to speak up; to give my new doctor a chance to help me. I had to try.

I was sitting in the kitchen, my toddler running riot behind me, when the phone rang. I took a deep breath and readied myself to be honest and forthright. I told them I was struggling, that I was anxious, that I had had a miscarriage; that I was struggling. When asked about a scale of 1-10, 1 being the worst, I explained I was a 3 every day. This is a snapshot of the response I received:

“How is your child?”

“I hope you haven’t been binge-eating”

“Have you ever self-harmed?”

“Do you get irritable? Make sure you don’t let that turn to anger as it wouldn’t be nice for your husband.”

“Just wrap your child up warmer and bring him for a walk” (He’s 2 and it’s November)

“I was going to discharge you today, but given what you’ve said I will give you one more appointment in 3 months”

Minister, can you please explain to me how, in the space of a few months and in the midst of a pandemic, I went from intensive support to being ready for discharge? How a person who has never met me can decide that I no longer need help? A person who didn’t even know that I self-harm, who was more concerned with my son and husband than me. This is what happens when you underfund a vital service: Doctors who are poorly trained and/or have no incentive to do good work.

At this point in my life I am a veteran of the HSE’s mental health services so I was able to temper my reaction to being so dismissed. If that had happened 5 years ago, my response to being so horribly disregarded would been catastrophic.

I now apparently have one remaining appointment in the clinic in Coolock. I am severely depressed and fighting not to lapse back into self-harm and my eating disorder. I feel helpless and rejected.

How many other patients are experiencing similar feelings, with doctors being rotated when appointments are phone only? How can you expect people who are mentally ill to trust in a stranger when they can’t even trust themselves?

The mental health service was in dire straits before Covid-19 and we as a country were losing too many people to suicide as a result. If the current system continues, if you keep expecting those that are suffering (the ones lucky enough to be given access to psychiatric services) to ask a stranger for help through a phone, the number of suicides will rise exponentially.

You need to do better, for those that cannot do better on their own.’


Lisa Naylor


This afternoon.

Former footballer Gary Dempsey makes a plea for improved mental health services and for people to reach out to those who they feel may be in trouble amid reports of depression and suicides during lockdown.