The Women’s Mental Health Network (WMHN) is a network of people and organisations with a committed interest in women’s mental health issues, developed by the National Women’s Council (NWC) and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS).
Advocating for women’s rights to mental health
Advocating for women’s rights to mental health
The WMHN has two aims:
- To provide a forum for information-sharing and networking
- To advance interdisciplinary and multi-agency collaboration on women’s mental health issues.
To do this, we share information through newsletters and online updates. We also organise education and networking events hosted collaboratively by SPMHS and NWC.
The network was launched at a special event in November 2018. Since then, we have grown to over 300 members, hosted numerous events, and explored and advocated for women’s rights to mental health in the media and through awareness-raising opportunities.
How do I become a member of the network?
If you would like to learn more about becoming a member of the network, please fill in the form below and we will be in touch with you. You can withdraw your membership at any time in the same way.
Below, you’ll find some reports, podcasts and other resources that the WMHN has produced or contributed to. Please be aware that some sensitive topics are discussed in these resources, and know that help is available if you are in distress. If you need to talk to someone, you can contact the Samaritans 24 hours a day by calling 116 123 (freephone); texting 087 260 9090 (standard text rates apply); or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (Republic of Ireland) or email@example.com (Northern Ireland).
Out of Silence
In 2017 and 2018, the NWC undertook a programme of conversations with groups of women across Ireland, centring women’s understanding of mental health: the things that keep women well, the social and community networks that support them, and the services they turn to in times of difficulty.Read the report here
The WMHN held Strengthening Responses, a seminar on domestic violence and women's mental health, on 3 December 2018. Dr Siân Oram, Lecturer in Women’s Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in King’s College London was one of our speakers.View the slides here
Gendered impact of COVID-19
In June 2020, Louise O'Leary of SPMHS and Dr Clíona Loughnane of the NWC spoke with Róisín Ingle on The Irish Times Women’s Podcast about the gendered impacts of COVID-19 and how these affect women’s mental health.Listen back here
News and Events
Find updates, recordings and articles relating to our previous events on women’s mental health issues below. If you’re interested in future WMHN events, we’ll share dates and details here as they come up.
Mental Health in Mid-Life
On 24 September, the WMHN held a webinar to place a spotlight on mental health in middle age. The webinar explored the changes in women's bodies and biology, along with sociocultural contexts and social determinants, which can impact women's mental health needs during menopause and middle age. The kinds of supports which should be in place for women in health, work and daily life as they enter this mid-life stage were also discussed. Speakers included Breeda Bermingham, founder of the MidLife Women Rock Project; Catherine O'Keefe, founder of the Menopause Success Summit; Dr Caoimhe Hartely, GP and founder of Menopause Health; and Dr Cliona Loughnane, post-doctoral researcher on the CARE-VISION project in University College Cork.
Watch the mental health in mid-life webinar here.
Exploring Compassion and Restoration
We held our final WMHN event of 2020 on 4 December. Dr Katie Baird, practising compassion-focussed therapist and founder of the Irish Centre for Compassion-Focussed Therapy, kindly presented on how to think from a compassionate perspective. She also shared practices to cultivate compassion in our personal and professional lives. This session also afforded an opportunity for attendees to share what helped them to sustain wellbeing over a challenging year, and for network members to discuss priorities for the WMHN in 2021.
Unpacking the Impacts: COVID-19 and Women’s Mental Health
On 12 June 2020, we hosted our first webinar, which explored different perspectives on implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for women’s mental health. We were joined by guest speakers Lisa Marmion, Services Development Manager at Safe Ireland; Zoe Hughes, Policy and Research Officer at Care Alliance Ireland; Niamh Grennan, Coordinator of the Dublin Lesbian Line; and Liliana Morales, Psychologist with the Health Service Executive (HSE) Psychology Service for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
Gender-based Violence and Women’s Mental Health
In support of the 16 Days of Action against Gender-based Violence campaign, the third WMHN event of 2019, taking place on 29 November, welcomed guest speakers Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, Chair of NWC; Gillian Dennehy, Services Manager for Women’s Aid; and Felicity Kennedy, psychotherapist and former Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Therapy Centre.
On 13 September 2019, Dr Iseult Twamley, Senior Clinical Psychologist and Open Dialogue Clinical Lead with West Cork Mental Health Service; Anne Cronin of Novas; and Aoife Dermody, co-founder of Quality Matters, joined us as guest speakers in an event which explored trauma-informed approaches and their significance to meeting women’s mental health needs.
Perinatal Mental Health in Focus
Our first event of 2019 took place on 10 May. We were delighted to have Dr Margo Wrigley, HSE National Clinical Lead for Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services, and Eileen Ní Shuilleabháin, Principal Social Worker in Adult Mental Health Services in Galway City, as special guest speaker. Dr Wrigley chaired the expert working group which developed the national model of care for perinatal mental health services and presented on the development of the model of care and progress on implementation. Eileen spoke on the range of mental health needs women may have in the period and described the benefits of a trauma-informed approach to care.
Louise O’Leary, Advocacy Manager at SPMHS and co-founder of the WMHN, wrote a piece on the importance of looking after maternal mental health, which shares further resources and pathways to support: you can read Louise’s piece here.
Mental Health Needs of LGBTQ+ Women
To mark Pride Month, the WMHN hosted a webinar on the different mental health needs of LGBTQ+ women in Ireland on 17 June 2022. The webinar also explored how mental health professionals and services can improve responses to LGBTQ+ women’s needs. This event included talks by:
- Paula Fagan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LGBT Ireland, who focused on older LGBTQ+ women and LGBT Ireland's Champions Programme
- Moninne Griffith, CEO of BeLonG To, who spoke about younger LGBTQ+ people
- Lilith Ferreyra-Carroll, National Community Development Officer for TENI, who offered guidance on how mental health services can be more responsive to trans people’s needs.
'Migration, Mental Health and Resilience: Women’s experiences of migration and seeking asylum
The WMHN hosted a webinar titled 'Migration, Mental Health and Resilience: Women’s experiences of migration and seeking asylum' on Friday 16th of September. This event explored how mental health services can become more inclusive and responsive to the mental health needs of migrant and asylum-seeking women.
We were delighted to be joined by the following expert speakers:
- Liliana Morales, Psychologist with the HSE Psychology Service for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
- Dr Caroline Munyi, Migrant Women's Health Coordinator at AkiDwA
- Ber Grogan, Policy & Research Manager at Mental Health Reform
- Justyna Maslanka, volunteer with Cairde’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Project.
A recording of the event is available here.