Changing Minds. Changing Lives. 2018–2022

Our Changing Minds. Changing Lives. strategy recognises the unique role that we play in the development and delivery of mental health services in Ireland.

Our vision and mission

Our vision and mission

At St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS), our vision is for a society where all citizens are empowered and given the opportunity to live mentally healthy lives.

We work to provide the highest quality mental healthcare, to promote mental wellbeing and mental health awareness, and to advocate for the rights of those experiencing mental health difficulties.

We achieve this through a human rights-based approach, through the enhancement of evidence-based knowledge, and by striving to be at the cutting-edge of new initiatives and advances in the field.

Who we are and what we do

Who we are and what we do

SPMHS is a leading independent, not-for-profit mental health service provider. Working from our main location at James’ Street Dublin, and from a number of other centres and clinics in Dublin and around the country, we have developed a strong reputation for the provision of the highest quality mental healthcare.

Our services are grounded in a human rights, recovery ethos, empowering service users to control and guide their own treatment and mental healthcare.

We are recognised as a respected advocate for improved understanding of mental health issues at a national level, and for seeking to change stigma and misunderstanding of mental health and the treatment of mental health difficulties.


SPMHS is an organisation grounded in human rights. We believe that those experiencing mental health difficulties have equal rights as citizens and should be treated with respect and dignity, protected against discrimination, and have full inclusion and equalisation of opportunities within society. They should have independent and personal autonomy; be given the opportunity to make decisions about their own care and treatment; and have the right to live, work and be treated and cared for in the community in which they live, insofar as possible.

Those experiencing mental health difficulties should have the right to be treated in the least restrictive environment and with the least intrusive treatment appropriate to their mental health needs and the need to protect others.

We believe that treatment of those who experience mental health difficulties should be based on individually prescribed plans, grounded in evidence-based best practice, which are regularly reviewed and revised as necessary and provided by qualified multidisciplinary teams. We also believe that treatment should be suited to the person’s cultural background.

We are committed to the principles of recovery-focused care and to fostering positive coping and management skills to enhance the quality of life of service users.

Our strategic objectives

Our strategic objectives

Building on the achievements of our strategy to date, we are committing to continuing to develop and grow the organisation.

We believe that we have a unique role to play in treating and supporting people who experience mental health difficulties.

Our objectives are:

  • Providing the highest quality mental healthcare
  • Promoting mentally healthy living and mental health awareness across the community
  • Advocating for rights of those who experience mental health difficulties
  • Supporting the investigation into and the enhancement of evidence-based knowledge regarding mental health and mental health difficulties
  • Developing competencies of those committing to work in mental health and of the organisations providing mental healthcare
  • Enhancing partnership with service users.

Critical issues

Over the last five years, we have achieved a number of key aims through the implementation of the Mental Health Matters strategy. We are committed to continuing to develop and grow the organisation, believing that it has a unique role to play in treating and supporting those who experience mental health difficulties. There are important issues affecting the treatment and prevention of mental health difficulties in Ireland that need to be tackled.

Human rights and access to services

The World Health Organisation has recognised that "good mental health enables people to realise their potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their communities". In Ireland, the rights of those experiencing mental health difficulties, particularly their rights to receive appropriate services and supports, are not adequately enshrined in legislation and policy.

Perceptions of mental health

People who experience mental health difficulties are subject to significant degrees of stigma and discrimination within Irish society. There is an ongoing need for advocacy initiatives to address misperceptions and to provide a coordinated voice for people with mental health difficulties and a greater understanding of mental health among the wider population in Ireland.

National standards of mental health services

Only a small number of mental health services are fully compliant with the statutory quality standards set by the Mental Health Commission (MHC). The MHC has recognised the under-resourcing of mental health in Ireland. In this challenging context, SPMHS plays a vital role in the delivery of mental health services that are high-quality, multidisciplinary, evidence-driven and human rights-based.

Partnership with service users

Fully involving those who experience mental health difficulties as equal partners in the planning, management and evaluation of mental health services has been shown to be of key importance. Full involvement has been associated with positive clinical outcomes, improved self-empowerment and enhanced recovery.

Use of technology in treatment

As the role of technology in society grows, its importance in educating and supporting those with mental health difficulties is becoming more significant. Internet-based support is being used to replace or support face-to-face and telephone-based counselling. This is a rapidly developing area of mental health treatment and one in which we believe new initiatives and groundbreaking methodologies will emerge.

Changing demographics

The 2016 census identified an increase of over 19% for people in Ireland over the age of 65. Consideration will need to be given to the range and nature of mental health services being provided to this growing segment of the Irish population.

Campus development

At the heart of our strategy is the establishment of The Jonathan Swift Campus for Mentally Healthy Living. This national centre will be the first in the world to provide a full range of mentally healthy living initiatives for the general population.

These initiatives include technological innovation, research, advocacy centres and institutes, alongside the provision of comprehensive recovery-based treatment services for those with mental health difficulties. 

See our campus plans here

Off-campus network and services

To complement the planned additions to the Jonathan Swift Campus, we will also take significant strategic steps to improve facilities and services in our other locations and to extend the reach of our services across the country. These developments will be supported by a range of initiatives to deliver operational excellence across the organisation and for services users and partners.

International Centre for the Treatment of Mood Disorders 

We will provide a dedicated International Centre for the Treatment of Mood Disorders at St Patrick’s, Lucan, County Dublin, thereby taking a lead role and fulfilling a significant need in this crucial area.

Consolidation of Dublin Dean Clinics and expansion of Associate Dean Clinics

We will centralise the various Dublin Dean Clinics, which provide local, off-site services, into one location, allowing for the implementation of a more holistic and coordinated approach in this important element of our programme. 

We will also develop the services being provided at the Cork and Galway Dean Clinics and continue to expand the Associate Dean Clinic model to cover as many areas as possible throughout Ireland.

Consultancy services to other mental health organisations

Utilising the existing clinical governance and management expertise of the organisation, a consultancy service will be established to provide advice and guidance to other mental health organisations on the development of high-quality services and compliance. This service will be promoted and coordinated by the training unit and will be delivered by the senior management team. Consultancy partnerships will be established with national and international organisations.

National Referral and Assessment Service

Across the country, people presenting with mental health difficulties are confronted with significant obstacles when trying to access appropriate services, particularly in the evenings or at weekends. SPMHS will establish a National Referral and Assessment Service which will be available to GPs and Accident and Emergency Departments 24/7, 365 days of the year. It will provide a free-of-charge prompt e-mental health (telephone and internet-based) assessment of needs to both adults and adolescents, to ensure all those requiring it receive early assessment and are allocated to the appropriate service within SPMHS or with other service providers.

Professional training and education

To build on the current role SPMHS plays in training and education, we will seek to expand our training of Irish-based mental health professionals, further enhance our training of international mental health professionals, and develop a comprehensive Continuing Professional Development Programme. The existing training relationships with Trinity College and Royal College of Surgeons will be consolidated, and new relationships will be formed, thereby enhancing the sharing and development of highest quality, evidence-based best practice.

Operational excellence

In addition to these significant developments in infrastructure, facilities and services, our strategic plan is underpinned by a number of operational priorities to drive excellence across all aspects of SPMHS and to increase the reach and benefits of our approach to mental health.

Enhancing service user participation

Service user engagement lies at the heart of this new strategy, all components of which will be progressed in partnership with service users. A robust mechanism for the engagement of more service users and carers in an advisory capacity in SPMHS will be developed. This will include running an annual celebratory event to which all service users and their families will be invited. The focus of this event will be on celebrating recovery, engaging interested service users in the various advisory groups and on succession planning for the advisory groups and for the Service User and Supporters Council (SUAS). This structure will be supported by a robust internet-based forum and engagement process. The existing service user consultation structures and feedback mechanisms will also be strengthened and enhanced.

Using the eSwift electronic health record 

The implementation of the new eSwift system is bringing about a transformation within SPMHS. Our work with large numbers of service users generates a vast array of information and data which, when captured and interpreted, can be used to improve and redefine best practice. The transformation will see the meaningful and impactful use of the data generated by the system to enable improvements in quality, more evidence-informed clinical decision-making, more use of organisational data in applied research and advocacy, and more impactful analysis of therapeutic outcomes. In addition, a key transformational factor will be ensuring service users have access to their own electronic record in real time.

Supporting philanthrophic projects

We have developed and supported a number of philanthropic initiatives in the areas of homelessness, ethnic minority support, advocacy, local community support and provision of free-of-charge care. We will continue to sustain and develop these initiatives over the period of this strategy.

Attracting and retaining the highest quality staff 

Our recently developed Human Resources (HR) Strategy will be further consolidated during the period of this strategy. The primary focus of this HR policy is to ensure SPMHS continues to attract and retain the highest quality staff through maintaining a competitive remuneration policy, enhancing staff welfare and engagement and building a strong succession planning process.

Ensuring a value-driven financial structure

We will continue to implement and refine our value-driven financial structure, which monitors expenditure and related considerations right across SPMHS, so as to ensure the best outcomes are being delivered for service users in the most cost-effective way.

Diagram showing an overview of the key objectives of the Changing Minds. Changing Lives. strategy from St Patrick's Mental Health Services.



SPMHS has, since our founding, responded to the changing landscape of mental healthcare within Irish society. This strategy builds on our achievements to date and identifies key tasks to be achieved over the next five years. It is a dynamic plan for action, capable of being adapted to address emerging issues and consistent with our founding Charter. The impact of its implementation will be measured through the extensive outcome measures developed by SPMHS over the last 10 years.

Through delivery of this strategy, the Board of Governors, staff, volunteers, senior management team and all those connected with SPMHS are outlining our commitment to ensuring that those who experience mental health difficulties receive the best opportunity to recover and live fulfilled lives and that, right across the community, people are educated and empowered to live mentally healthy lives.

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Download the strategy

Download the strategy


For general queries, please call us. For more on mental health and our services, see our frequently asked questions (FAQs).

01 249 3200 See our FAQs


Contact Referral and Assessment Service for queries regarding referrals to our services.

01 249 3635 See more from our referrals team