Reliance on medication in Irish Mental Health

While it is important not to dismiss the role medication has in managing mental health it is striking the amount of clients who contact us upset at being prescribed medication without any structured form of assessment.

Many of these clients are upset they are being put on medication first instead of getting offered counselling or alternative supports.  In many of these cases  NICE guidelines actually concur with these client’s views by highlighting that medication should not be the first step in terms of recommended best practice.

We also get a lot of enquiries from those trying to come off medication struggling to find resources beyond their GP appointment.  The below article demonstrates the disparity in investment between medication & counselling in primary care.  It is also worth noting that counselling in primary care (CIPC) is only available on a short term basis to medical card holders leaving many clients struggling with the costs of private therapy generally not covered by private health insurers.

The increase in discussion and awareness about mental health is very welcome but there is a long way to go in terms of seeing the same level of improvement in actual services, supports and resources for clients outside medication.

https://www.rte.ie/news/health/2018/0426/957328-mental-health/

Economic Boom & Bust – The “business cycle” and mental health

Over the past seven years my community based work as a therapist and in advocacy roles has put me face to face with the harsh effects of economic recession.

I have worked with many individuals & families experiencing first hand the effects of sudden homelessness,  unexpected unemployment and serious accommodation issues to name but a few.

These experiences have repeatedly brought home to me how economic recession and the “boom bust” nature of the business cycle has serious implications for the nations mental health.

As we experience a new part of this cycle,  it is worth pausing to think about whether our current approach to areas like health, housing and employment has evolved at all in light of recent experiences.

This becomes more urgent when considering impending changes to global corporate tax policy, Brexit and our growing/ageing population are all likely to figure in the next phase of this cycle.

This article highlights results of research led by Trinity College Dublin (based on the Growing Up in Ireland study)  and puts some data and context behind the discussion.

 

Tackling depression: Talk therapy or Antidepressants? Perhaps a brain scan will tell

Rapid developments in neuroscience are increasing knowledge of how the brain responds to different mental health interventions.

The below article explains recent research using a functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain scan to explore how some clients may respond better to talk therapy and others to medication when tacking depression.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170324083023.htm