Minister O’Malley officially opens the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies’ National Symposium

25 October 2006

Mr Tim O’Malley T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, today (Wednesday 25th October, 2006) officially opened the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies’ National Symposium – Meeting the Challenge of Building a Person Centred Mental Health Service for People with Intellectual Disabilities in the Heritage Hotel, Co Laois.

The Minister said the National Symposium provided an opportunity to acknowledge the value of the work of voluntary organisations in responding to the needs of those in our society who suffer from mental ill-health.

The Minister said that “Individuals with an intellectual disability are more vulnerable to environmental factors that influence mental health, as they are less able to adapt and respond to features of their environment and to changes in it. Services need to be sensitive to this vulnerability”.

The Minister highlighted the significant progress made in the areas of disability and mental health in recent times: “The Mental Health Act, 2001 provides a modern framework within which people who have a mental disorder and require treatment or protection can be cared for and treated. It puts in place mechanisms by which the standards, care and treatment in mental health services can be monitored, inspected and regulated”.

The Minister also referred to the Report of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy “A Vision for Change”, which sets out a clear policy for the future of mental health care and a framework for implementation over the next 7 to 10 years.

The Minister concluded “I look forward to working with the Federation in achieving the vision we have set out”.

Full text of Speech