New HSE forums for mental health service users announced for Tipperary

New local forums are being established in South Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford.

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The HSE’s community healthcare services in the South East – as part of working with people who use mental health services and with their family members, carers and supporters – are establishing new local forums in South Tipperary Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford.

The local forum will exist as a resource for service users and family members, carers and supporters to voice their experiences, raise issues and be consulted and involved in mental health services developments in their area.

The establishment of the forums are a development following on from recommendations in the national mental health strategy ‘A Vision for Change’ and the HSE’s own national strategy for service user involvement. The HSE’s 2015 mental health division operational plan included the strategic priority “that service users, families and carers are central to the design, planning, delivery and evaluation of services”.

With increased public focus on mental health in mind and an emphasis on the HSE’s South East Community Healthcare services working collaboratively with service users, family members and carers, information meetings on the subject – open to all interested parties – is being held at Clonmel Park Hotel on Monday 12th March at 6pm.

Further and follow up meetings are also being planned for Carrick-on-Suir, Cashel, Tipperary Town, Kilkenny, Dungarvan, Waterford, Gorey, New Ross, Enniscorthy and Wexford.

The nine Community Healthcare service areas throughout the state have each recently appointed an Area Lead for Mental Health Engagement, with Paul Fallon being in place to serve the South East. “The purpose of my post is to consult and present the views of mental health service users, family members and carers through engagement and partnership and to influence decision making at area management level in the South East. I have already held some meetings and I am now looking forward to conducting more, as one of the early steps in this important work,” Paul Fallon said.

“Along with my colleagues in the Community Healthcare services in the South East, I want to hear from people around the South East, as to how we can further develop mechanisms for engagement of service users, their family members and carers. I will be dedicated to allowing for their involvement in the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of mental health services.

“Significant in, and to, all of this will be the local forums. At these meetings, I will be introducing our project and proceed from there to guidelines for the local forums, which we will be coming from the community and represent the voices of those with experience of our services. The membership of local forums will include service users, family members and carers and others may be invited to attend meetings,” he added.

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