2015 Press Releases

Mental health brought out of shadows

9 Mar 2015
Minister Kathleen Lynch TD pictured with Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Ken O'Flynn, Professor John O'Halloran, Vice-President for Teaching and Learning at UCC, Dr Seamus O'Tuama, Director of ACE at UCC, Orla Barry, CEO of Mental Health Ireland, Rory Doody, guest speaker, Lydia Sapauna, School of Applied Science at UCC and the students of the 'Mental Health in the Community' course class of 2015, at the launch of the Mental Health in the Community Certificate Programme in UCC in partnership with Mental Health Ireland (Photo by David Keane)

Adult Continuing Education (ACE) at UCC and Mental Health Ireland have launched the new part-time Certificate Programme in Mental Health in the Community.

As a model of social education, this innovative Certificate Programme provides a forum for critical dialogue into issues of mental health and individual and collective wellbeing. The Certificate will attract students interested in enhancing their knowledge and awareness about emotional wellbeing and recovery as an approach to mental distress.

The pilot Certificate Programme was completed in UCC in January 2015. The course is currently running in Tralee, Co Kerry and will commence in Dublin, Limerick and Athlone in 2015.

Minister Kathleen Lynch T.D. attended the launch on Friday, 6 March 2015.

The Minister said, “Nowadays most people expect to recover from mental health difficulties. That wasn’t the case not too long ago. We need to continue talking about mental health and to do it loudly. This Certificate in Mental Health in the Community brings mental health out of the shadows and starts the conversation at a community level. Each and every one of us should be able to change someone’s world and this is my hope for the people who complete this programme. I’d like to congratulate Mental Health Ireland and the team at ACE in UCC on a fabulous course."

In line with national policy as set out in ‘A Vision for Change’, and the ethos of adult education, the design of the curriculum was a co-production of university academics and mental health practitioners including experts with experience of mental distress. With its focus on community practice, the programme explores ‘community’ and community based interventions as powerful forces for social change and recovery.

Orla Barry, CEO of Mental Health Ireland said “Together ACE and Mental Health Ireland are leading the way in advancing education in mental health in the community. We look forward to launching the course in Dublin, Limerick and Althone in 2015 and to working with course participants to develop plans to promote and support mental health recovery and wellbeing in communities across Ireland."

Also speaking at the event was course lecturer Rory Doody. He spoke about his struggles with mental health issues and recalled admissions into psychiatric hospitals over a 20 year period, believing at one point that having a mental health issue was a life sentence.

Rory said “I’ve had an amazing journey of lifelong learnings which have impacted greatly on my recovery. My hope for this programme is to educate people about the importance of good mental health and in creating community led resources to support people to recovery."

Brenda Healy, course co-ordinator said, “This partnership represents a new dawn in how we can create an environment for leadership, civic action and social change in connecting with the hearts and minds of the community. As a stakeholder in the process of that change, it is possible to reduce stigma, create new community led resources and develop connections between groups, individuals and networks. The mature students that enrolled in the first certificate programme in UCC were conferred in a ceremony just last week. The student body was made up of people from all walks of life and it is really exciting to hear how they indent to put their learnings into practice in their community environments."

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