Thursday, 14th December 2017
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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 a new, local forum in Waterford.

The local forum serving Waterford City and County 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 an 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, an information meeting on the subject, open to all interested parties, is being held on Wednesday 6th December at 6.30pm in Dungarvan Youth Centre, Quanns, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.

The nine Community Healthcare Organisations 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 (services in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford – the South East).

Speaking about the information meeting in Dungarvan, one of the aims of which is to set up a Co. Waterford mental health forum, Paul Fallon said:

"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 a meeting on 22nd November (at the Shine Discovery premises) in Waterford City and I am now looking forward to the evening in Dungarvan and the consequent establishment of forums serving city and county as one of the early steps in this important work.”

"Along with my colleagues in the community healthcare services in the South East, I want to hear from people in Co. Waterford, 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. On the night in Dungarvan, 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.”

"My colleagues and I are experts, both by profession and experience. I will talk about my role on the evening and also my background as a family member. I have moved especially to the South East to take up this role, so I have confidence in this project and I think it will be of benefit to everyone concerned with mental health services.”

"I look forward to a good attendance at the meetings in Dungarvan and to working with as many people as possible in these areas and elsewhere in the South East in my role as an Area Lead for Mental Health Engagement.”

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