West Cork Consumer Panel provides a forum for people with mental health difficulties

Posted on: 7th July, 2014

Category: News

Contributor: West Cork People

Have you experienced or are you experiencing Mental Health difficulties in your life?. Are you a carer of a friend or family member who is experiencing Mental Health illness?. Interested people are invited to join the ‘Consumer Panel’ where you will be given a forum to express your opinions on the Services that you use and to gain ‘Peer support’ from other Service Users, Carers and Providers.

The Irish Government has commissioned the HSE Mental Health Services to consult with Service Users, Carers and Providers to find the best ways to improve how we look after people who experience Mental Health distress.

In the Report of the expert group on Mental Health Policy called ‘A Vision for Change’ published in 2006, it details a comprehensive model of mental health service provision for Ireland.  It describes a framework for building and fostering positive mental health across the entire community and for providing accessible, community-based, specialist services for people with mental illness.

The ‘Vision for Change’ model uses Consumer Panels as a vital part of the consulting process for identifying best practice in advancing the recovery of people in need of Mental Health Care. The focus of care in the future will be to give services, which are based in a person’s own community.  As the HSE moves forward, it is intended that the ‘Patient/Service User’ will become a customer of the services, and so funding for best practises in those Services, will be for the first time directly related to patient outcomes, thus encouraging the necessary Services to deliver top class care. This is a very significant change in relation to the quality of care for those who we serve.

Consumer Panels are a bridge between the HSE and those in our communities who use or have experience of the Mental Health Services, as well as people who have an interest in improving the service.

Consumer Panels rely on the information gathered from the community regarding the quality of its local Mental Health Services – anyone with an interest in contributing to this work is always welcome.

The West Cork Consumer Panel meets once a month in different locations throughout West Cork. The meetings take place in a relaxed and informal manner with both Service Users and Professionals working hand in hand in the interest of improving the service.  If you are a Service User, Carer or Providers of the Mental Health Services, you are invited to attend the Consumer Panel Meeting where you will be given an opportunity to contribute to the Panel’s Agenda or to learn how you can be assisted in any aspect of your recovery. Thenext meeting will be held in the Town Hall, Skibbereen on Wednesday, July 9 from 11am to 1pm.

On that day, there will be a representative from the National Learning Network in attendance, which will be canvasing for students to attend THE FOCUS PROGRAMME, CLONAKILTY starting in October this year.

The Focus Programme is a full time recovery based training programme for people who have had an experience of mental ill health.  Trainees are supported to gain the confidence, knowledge and skills to take more control over their futures.

People who attend the Focus Programme have experienced a set-back in their lives from which they have not yet fully recovered. It includes people who want the confidence to get back to work, to develop interests, or to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

For more details about the Consumer Panel and for dates and venue of future meetings, please contact the Secretary at consumerpanelwestcork@gmail.com .  You can also phone 086 796 4402.

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17th October, 2018  ·  

SuperValu and AsIAm host unique exhibition in Clonakilty

SuperValu and AsIAm.ie will host a unique exhibition which will enable the entire town of Clonakilty to experience what it is like for people with autism to deal with the world around them. The exhibition, which is free to visit, will be hosted in the Clonakilty Parish Hall from 10am to 4pm on Thursday 27th September. The exhibition represents the final part of the four month journey the town has been on to becoming Ireland’s first ever fully accredited Autism Friendly Town and guests are invited to join on a ‘pop-in’ basis.

The exhibition uses an engaging “questions and answers” format as well as a series of activities to answer people’s questions and enable visitors to step into the shoes of those with the condition. This includes using sound, smells, touch and sight experiments to bring neurotypical (those without Autism) people into the world of those with the condition.

“People with autism often experience a sense of being overwhelmed and confused by what others see as normal life, and this exhibition will allow those attending to understand this more than they have done before,” according to the CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris. “Through visiting this exhibition we believe people will be much better equipped to engage with people with autism who they meet regularly in their day-to-day lives.”

Visitors are given an MP3 player which gives them an audio guide through 15 stages which allow them experience different aspects of life with autism.

Under SuperValu and AsIAm’s guidance, the town of Clonakilty has undertaken a commitment to become fully Autism Friendly – a first for anywhere in Ireland. Over the last four months Adam Harris, founder of AsIAm, and his team have been working with the entire community to receive official Autism Friendly Accreditation.

To do this the town as a whole must deliver:

Engagement and training 25% of businesses and voluntary organisations
Engagement and training of 50% of public services
Engagement and training of 50% of school communities
Engagement and training of 50% of healthcare professionals
Engagement of 3 employers
Reaching 25% of the town’s population
The town has almost reached these targets with this exhibition representing the last piece of the journey reaching and educating as many of the community as possible.

The exhibition was developed by the AsIAm Youth Leadership Team, a group of young people with Autism who act as advocates for the organisation. It is part of a larger campaign to engage young people in Autism issues which includes a social media campaign and a website, youthhub.asiam.ie

Around 1 in 65 people in Ireland live with Autism and are to be found in every community and school in the country. They apply for every type of job but are often misunderstood, excluded or left behind due to a lack of understanding in society.
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