The Winter Workshop on 26 January 2013 in The Strand Hotel, Omeath was a fantastic success. Starting around 14.15, with a break at 15.30, it concluded at 17.00.

Viewers will find a selection of photos taken at the workshop at seancrudden.wordpress.com/ .

Report on 2013 Winter Workshop on Mental Health – Peers in Progress, 26th January 2013 @ 2 PM in the Strand Hotel Omeath Co Louth

The workshop was facilitated by Mr Dermot Mooney Chairperson of CEHG assisted by production team co-producers Mr Seán Crudden Treasurer of CEHG and Archbishop Michael D Hynes Secretary/PRO of CEHG. Seán returned Late Thursday evening from Brussels having attended a meeting of ENUSP on Wednesday 23rd January 2013 in a hotel in Brussels. The meeting commenced with the Facilitator calling for a minutes silence on the sad death of Detective Garda Aidan Donohue RIP from Lordship. Then the following list of speakers took their turn to speak:

1. Seán Crudden gave an overview of the topic for the workshop and explained how he got the idea while in Brussels at a meeting in May 2012 from an ENUSP member and how we came to develop our theme “Mental Health-Peers in Progress”.

2. Kevin Moran from Dundalk Youth Centre informed the workshop “youth work is in crisis” as there is a lack of skills to provide services for young people and he sees the crisis getting worse as the years roll on due to the recession and current government policy. He noted that a life in Ireland survey revealed the main problems include the economy. finances, family - latch-key parents, bullying, and pressure in school were some of the problems that young people mentioned in the survey. He further went on “youth are becoming more and more dependent on crisis services and that this will have a very detrimental effect in 10 years time. Youth work, he affirmed, is trying to support families.

3. Joe Walshe of SOASD gave us an outline of the role of SOASD in relation to Alcohol and Depression. He said he mans the phone on a rota for SOSAD

4. Don Johnston spoke of the situation of having two family members (now deceased at a younger age) who were mental patients and the anguish he acquired and the fact he was formerly a secondary school teacher and he had a brother a Doctor. Don was inferring that mental health knows no boundaries!

5. Michael Corrigan gave an excellent overview of the term pillars using terminology of which he acquired from Google over the internet. (See below for a summary).

6. Rev Stanley Millen gave a nice Christian approach to the discussion.

7. Áine O h Eochaidh gave a lengthy personal account of Peers in Progress as a retired Psychiatric Nurse.

8. Our Mentor Prof Dennis Pringle gave a few positive comments on the event before conclusion.

9. Seán Crudden proposed officers remain in office for another year and there were no objections so Chairperson is Dermot Mooney, Vice Chairperson Anne Muldowney, Secretary/PRO Archbishop Michael D Hynes, Treasurer Seán Crudden and Mentor Prof Dennis Pringle.

Overall the workshop went well. The discussion got a little heated in the middle but filtered down to what ended as a very pleasant discussion at the end of a topic that can cause much controversy. The workshop ended with all in a relaxed mood as dinner was served for all who wanted to stay for a chat and network while others went home peacefully

M D Hynes Sec/PRO

Speakers And Participants

Facilitator: Mr Dermot Mooney Chair of CEHG
1. Mr Sean Crudden (Peers in Progress)
2. Mr Kevin Moran (Dundalk Youth Centre)
3. Mr Joe Walshe (SOASD on Alcohol and Depression)
4. Ms Áine Ó hEochaidh (Personal view as a retired Psychiatric Nurse)
5. Mr Don Johnston (A Retired Secondary Teacher)
6. Rev Stanley Millen (A Religious Perspective)
7. Mr Michael Corrigan (Retired Vocational Teacher)
8. Archbishop Michael D Hynes (Christian Perspective & Summary)

Guests (respond to speakers with questions)
1. Mr Pat Ferrigan
2. Ms Joan Hardy
3. Mr Eric Hynes
4. Ms Anne Muldowney
5. Mr Dermot Mooney
6. Prof Dennis Pringle Mentor
7. Mr Kevin McGeough

Mental Health – Peer Support

The following is a summary of existing thought on peer support. It was presented to the workshop by the second last speaker Michael Corrigan.

Source: A review of the literature on Peer Support in Mental Health Services : Julie Repper & Tim Carter, University of Nottingham (Journal of Mental Health, August 2011)

• Three broad types of Peer Support:
  1. Informal, not organised, person to person
  2. Peer-run organisations (associations)
  3. Peer Support Workers (PSWs) in traditional services

• Definition of Peer Support: “a system of giving & receiving help founded on the key principles of respect, shared responsibility and mutual agreement of what is helpful” (Mead, 2003)

• Distinction between PSW (Peer Support Worker - the peer is “employed”) and PSR. (Peer Support Relationship): The PSW might be perceived to be further along the road to recovery and to be more of a “giver” than a “receiver”; The value in the PSR is in its symmetry and reciprocity.

“Peer support is about being an expert at not being an expert and that takes a lot of expertise”

• In the US services run for and by people with mental health and their families now number more than double the traditional professional run organisations.
• Benefits of PSR:
  1. Community living increased
  2. Admission rates decreased
  3. Empowerment: Increased sense of independence, stability at work, participation in education & training, increased tendency to research illness, become more involved in treatment and move away from the role of “patient”.
  4. Social Support & functioning : opportunity to create relationships and to practice an identity other than that of “patient”. After a period those in PSR have more friends and social support than those in traditional treatment.
  5. Empathy and Acceptance: greater feelings of being accepted, understood and liked than those in traditional care.

• Benefits for PSWs:
  1. Empowerment & self-esteem
  2. Sense of “employment” – contributing
  3. Money, structure, security.

• Difficulties with PSWs:
  1. Establishing the boundaries
  2. Defining the role within the care team
  3. Dealing with stress as it may arise
  4. Accountability

Summary : “What PSWs appear to be able to do more successfully than professionally qualified staff is to promote hope and belief in the possibility of recovery, empowerment and increased self-esteem, self efficiency and self-management of difficulties and social inclusion engagement and social networks.”