Cork mental health group to showcase work in EU

THE work that a Cork-based group has done to help break down the stigma attached to mental health problems and raise awareness about the “normality of madness” is set to be honoured at a European conference.

Mad Pride Ireland has been invited to showcase its work in Lisbon, Portugal, as part of a European Commission on mental well-being.

The conference is part of the 2010 European year against poverty and social exclusion and Mad Pride Ireland’s work has been identified as best practice in the fight against ignorance in mental health.

It will consider the social determinants of mental health and well-being and of inequalities in mental health in the EU and consider measures to provide social support to people and help to prevent stigmatisation.

Founder of Mad Pride John McCarthy said it was a great honour for the group and is recognition of its work which has seen more than 40,000 people attend its events since 2008.

Mad Pride family fun days engage the community through fun and laughter thereby hoping to break down stigma and increase awareness and understanding of the normality of madness, he said.

Mr McCarthy said he was also making “massive strides” with the HSE, and the department of Health and especially Junior Minister John Moloney to get help supporting his work.

The group is lobbying hard to change the law around the use of force in treatment, specifically ECT under section 59b of the 2001 Mental Health Act.

“At our urging the Green Party has adopted the deletion of section 59b as party policy and Junior Minister Moloney informed us that a decision is imminent,” Mr McCarthy said.

Section 59b of the Mental Health Act deals with the forced use of EST on patients without their consent.

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