Articles tagged with: Mental Health

Young Adults in Search of Mental Health

on Tuesday, 09 January 2018. Posted in Issue 81 Young Adults in Ireland Today, 2017

PdfIconYoung Adults in Search of Mental Health

Dr. Tony Bates

When ‘Deirdre’ arrived to see me with her mother, my first impression was of a young woman with a warm smile and not a problem in the world. She was twenty-three years old, already the mother of two. As she checked out my office, I wondered if she was happy to be here. I was concerned that coming to see me might have been more her mum’s idea than her own. In confirming the appointment, her mother had described her as ‘a bit lost’, ‘having lots of panic attacks’, and ‘stuck in a relationship that’s not doing her any good’. But none of this was apparent in those opening minutes of our meeting.

Psychology and the Penal System

on Wednesday, 12 March 2014. Posted in Issue 73 The Rights of Workers – Then and Now, Penal Policy


Mountjoy Prison                        © D. Speirs

Paul O'Mahony


In this article, I intend to look back and draw contrasts between the current situation of Irish prisons and what prevailed when I joined the prison service, as one of the group of four psychologists, newly employed in 1980.

Hospital or Prison? What Future for the Central Mental Hospital?

on Thursday, 27 March 2008. Posted in Issue 57 Thornton Hall Prison: A Progressive Move?

Central Mental Hospital Carers Group

April 2008

Hospital or Prison? What Future for the Central Mental Hospital?



Entrance to the Central Mental Hospital

Entrance to the Central Mental Hospital

© D. Speirs

The Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum probably evokes a cold shiver in people as they pass by – that is, if they think about it at all. The perception of the hospital is influenced visually by the high walls, the imposing metal gates leading up a long avenue to another electronic gate, and the glimpse of a huge grey granite building. It is fuelled, no doubt, by stories and myths about mental illness, criminal lunatics and madness. People may read in the newspapers about the crimes of some patients but do they realise: ‘There but for the grace of God go I’? None of us knows when or where mental health problems will occur or with what severity. Certainly none of us who are parents or relatives of patients in the Central Mental Hospital ever expected serious mental illness to visit our families.

Mental Illness in Irish Prisons:

on Friday, 21 April 2006. Posted in Issue 52 Mental Illness in Irish Prisons: A Solitary Experience?, 2006

Eugene Quinn

April, 2006

Health Care Standards in Irish Prisons
In June 2004, the Irish Prison Service published a statement of Health Care Standards, covering the care of those detained in Irish prisons and places of detention. The core aims of the Standards are stated as being: "to provide prisoners with access to the same quality and range of instruments to which they would be eligible within the general community" and to give priority to the promotion of the health of prisoners.1  
These aims accord with Article 12 of the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which recognises "the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health". Ireland has ratified the ICESCR, which under international law obliges the State to ensure that the rights enshrined in the Covenant are guaranteed for all persons in its territory.

Working Notes Issue 52 Editorial

on Friday, 21 April 2006. Posted in Issue 52 Mental Illness in Irish Prisons: A Solitary Experience?, 2006

April 2006

The Report of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy, A Vision for Change, was published in January 2006. In his introduction, Tim O\'Malley TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for mental health, states that the Report is intended to set out "a comprehensive policy framework for our mental health services for the next 7-10 years".

Facing up to Mental Illness

on Thursday, 31 July 2003. Posted in Issue 34 Facing up to Mental Illness, 1999

Bill Toner, SJ

April 1999


The moral character of a society can best be judged by the way it looks after the weakest and most vulnerable of its members. These include, for instance, the very poor, the homeless, travellers and gypsies, the unborn, children, asylum-seekers, the sick, the elderly, the imprisoned. There is no evidence that Ireland is, in general, significantly worse than many other countries in looking after its most marginalised groups. But neither is it significantly better. Recently it was severely indicted by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for the lack of policies and the inadequacies of services for vulnerable and at-risk children, as reported in Working Notes (Issue 31).

Hopelessness and Suicide in Prison

on Thursday, 31 July 2003. Posted in Issue 34 Facing up to Mental Illness, 1999

Tony O'Riordan, SJ

April 1999


Why do people kill themselves? Because they have lost hope. People who have hope can envisage a future and can see what they are going to do tomorrow, next week and even in the years ahead. This ability to look forward to the future with a degree of confidence is what keeps us going in life.

Sadly it seems as if a growing number of Irish people are lacking in hope. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of suicides in Ireland in recent years, particularly among young males. 359 suicides were recorded in the first 9 months of last year. It is estimated that the figure for the entire year will exceed 500. This will be significantly more than the number of people killed in road accidents in 1998, which is estimated at 460.

Unfulfilled Hopes: A Comparison of Two Reports

on Thursday, 31 July 2003. Posted in 1999

Scroll down this page to compare these two reports.


Extracts from

The Psychiatric Services -Planning for the Future(1984)

Psychiatric HospitalsMany of the hospital buildings are old and have poor facilities. Improvements are urgent and necessary in the interests of the patients and staff…. For patients who continue to live in psychiatric hospitals…a wide range of programmes of activation and rehabilitation is needed, whether to prepare them for a more independent life in a community setting or to raise the quality of their lives in hospital.

Extracts from

Report of Inspector of Mental Hospitals (1997)

"The Inspectorate cannot stand over conditions pertaining to St Brendan\'s Hospital and the Board are urged to double its efforts in an attempt to close St Brendan\'s" (p.6) "Conditions in St Loman\'s (Palmerstown) have continued to deteriorate to the point where some relatives have refused to have patients admitted to the hospital and have taken them home instead" (p.8) "The admission facilities in St Senan\'s (Wexford) were unsatisfactory. There was no privacy and severe overcrowding. Bathroom facilities were grossly inadequate, day space was extremely limited, there were no facilities for visitors to meet with their relatives, interview and other offices were non-existent and ECT had to be administered in beds, virtually in full view of other patients" (p.107)"Conditions in Unit 11 of St Joseph\'s, Portrane, had deteriorated since the previous inspection. The condition of the toilets was unacceptable: seats were missing from the toilets, the boards at the back of the toilets were smeared with faeces and a terrible stench emanated from the area. There were no taps or handles on the wash-hand basins, no soap and no towels. Windows which had been broken were boarded up. One exit door (a fire exit) had been boarded up with plywood…No lights were functioning in one of the day-rooms and toilet areas. Patients were groping around in the toilet in the dark" (p.42)"Once again, it was emphasised that the living accommodation in four wards of the main building in St. Loman\'s Hospital (Mullingar) were unacceptable and should be vacated as soon as possible." (p.60). "In the long-stay wards, care was almost exclusively of a custodial nature…the male wards were grim, dark and gloomy". (St. Mary\'s, Castlebar) (p.137).


We tend to think that law defines what crime is. This makes sense because contemporary legal codes are concerned with marking out the territory where conduct is permissible by specifying the conduct that is outlawed. Yet the earliest bodies of law – consider for example, the Torah or Hammurabi’s Code – are at least as committed to articulating the good as proscribing the bad... Read full editorial

Working Notes is a journal published by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. The journal focuses on social, economic and theological analysis of Irish society. It has been produced since 1987.