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16 January 2017 Edition

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Dual Diagnosis – A new approach in treating mental health and substance addiction

Cork – Third regional conference to be held by Sinn Féin

Dual Diagnosis is the term used when a person suffers from both a substance abuse problem and another mental health issue

CORK CITY is the venue for Sinn Féin’s third regional conference on the Dual Diagnosis approach to mental health.

Dual Diagnosis is the term used when a person suffers from both a substance abuse problem and another mental health issue such as depression, anxiety, bi-polar or schizophrenia.  

In general, mental health services and addiction treatment centres in Ireland do not treat people holistically. If an alcoholic's addiction arises from mental health issues that person will not be treated for those mental health issues until their alcoholism has been addressed. On presentation to a mental health centre it can be the case that they will be turned away until their alcoholism has been dealt with.

Crucially, for the first time, the Health Service Executive has recently appointed a medical lead on Dual Diagnosis.  

The conference hosted by Sinn Féin takes place at University College Cork on 12 January from 12noon to 3pm. 

Speakers include HSE Consultant Eamon Keenan, Carol Moore from Dual Diagnosis Ireland, and local Cork speakers. 

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD, who has taken on an all-Ireland Mental Health portfolio at her request (supported by Cork TD Pat Buckley as junior spokesperson and Seanad spokesperson Seanadóir Máire Devine), will also be speaking.

All interested parties are welcome to attend but pre-registration is requested to ensure numbers are catered for.

Sinn Féin is attempting to build awareness is through providing SafeTALK suicide awareness training for its national representatives, councillors, political staff, members and community groups. 

Four sessions have already been held with TDs, senators and support staff at the Oireachtas in Dublin and more are planned around the country.

Under the banner of “SafeTALK – Suicide alertness for everyone”, it’s a four-hour programme to increase the ability to promote the immediate safety of someone who may be at risk of suicide and provide links to further help.

SafeTALK suicide alert helpers are trained to:-

• Move beyond common tendencies to miss, dismiss or avoid signs of suicide; 

• Identify people who have thoughts of suicide;

• Apply the TALK steps to connect a person with suicidal thoughts to people and agencies that can help.

Mary Lou McDonald says:

“In the Dáil, Sinn Féin introduced a Private Member’s Bill calling for 24/7 crisis intervention services to be rolled out. Despite not receiving enough support from other TDs, we will continue to work with the other parties in a consensus fashion to get these services put in place at the earliest opportunity. 

“We have also met with the Assembly team in the North to form an all-Ireland strategy and further meetings will be held throughout 2017.”

There is a dedicated Sinn Féin Mental Health page on Facebook 

Support is available 24/7

Samaritans: 116 123

Pieta House: 1800 247 247 


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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