Aoife Boland, Area Lead of Mental Health engagement in the HSE Mental Health Services for Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary tells us about the services available and how individuals can take part in discussions using a Local Forum.
Thank you to all in Lé Cheile for this opportunity to be involved in their Newsletter. At a time when we may be separated physically, exploring all the ways that we can stay connected and informed is now more important than ever.
Aoife Boland is my name and I am the Area Lead of Mental Health Engagement in the HSE Mental Health Services for Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary. So what is an Area Lead of Mental Health Engagement? What my roles means is that I am a person with lived experience of Mental Health difficulties and recovery and I attended the Mental Health services for a number of years. I am a member of the Management Team in the area and I am responsible for introducing various ways that other people with lived experience can have their voice heard and become involved in the design, the delivery and evaluation of Mental Health Services.
In order to bring other people with lived experience together I established a Mental Health Forum in each County in the last number of years. Since COVID became part of our daily lives the Forum Meetings are now held on line. Below I have outlined what a Forum is and what we discuss and focus on. In order to join us on line there is a short form that a person has to complete. I would be delighted to hear from people in any area that would be interested in getting involved – my email is Aoife.firstname.lastname@example.org and my number is 087 149 2986. If you would like to contact me at any stage please feel free to do so.
The HSE Mental Health Services are focusing more on working actively with service users, family members, carers and supporters. In 2016 a group of people came together with lived experience to look at how people could become involved and have their voice heard. Their recommendations were set out in a report called Partnership for Change. As per their recommendations the HSE established my role and Local Mental Health Forums throughout the country in 2017. Local Forums are a way to involve service users, family members, carers and supporters and to hear their views and experiences and to ensure that their voice is heard and that they have an input in service design and delivery.
What is the Local Forum?
The Local Forum is an open meeting. It is a place to speak about experiences, present views and raise matters of importance to improve the services for everyone.
Who can join the Local Forum and how do I get involved?
To join a Local Forum, you should have your own lived experience of mental health difficulties or be a family member, carer or supporter of a person with mental health difficulties. Local Forum meetings are open and held regularly on line at present.
If you would like to become involved please contact Aoife on 087 149 2986 or email@example.com
What is the purpose of a Local Forum?
The purpose is to engage and work in partnership to improve the mental health services in our area. This will allow service providers to respond to matters of importance raised by service users and their supporters and work together to resolve these matters.
What happens at a Local Forum? What do you talk about?
We work through the Agenda items which may include:
- Recovery and solution focused for our Forum and for the service.
- Updates on items that have been raised by those who attend and work that is taking place on them.
- Signposting and information sharing about various organisations that can assist us in the community with the areas of our life impacted by a Mental Health difficulty.
- Feedback from Forum attendees on items brought for consultation from a number of possible sources within the Mental Health Service
I would be delighted for you to contact me to discuss becoming a part of your local forum. All our Forums are now currently operating online for the foreseeable future due to the COVID 19 restrictions.
Aoife on 087 149 2986 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you a again to Lé Cheile for this opportunity and I hope everyone can remain safe and well in what is a very difficult time for us all.