From Paul Gilligan, Chief Executive

During 2017, as St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) celebrated the 350th anniversary of our founder Jonathan Swift, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, we continued to work towards his vision of a society where all citizens are given the opportunity to live mentally healthy lives.

As Ireland’s largest independent not-for-profit mental health service, SPMHS provides inpatient services through our three approved centres, and community and outpatient care through our day patient services and Dean Clinic community network.

We aspire to provide the highest quality of mental health care, to promote mental health and to advocate for the rights of those who experience 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.

Key Transformational Project

In 2017, SPMHS furthered our reputation as a leader in Irish healthcare by becoming the first hospital in the country to introduce a fully integrated electronic health record (EHR) system. The eSwift EHR system was a key transformational project that moved the organisation away from 270 years of paper-based records to improve the delivery, safety and quality of healthcare for all service users.

In another pioneering move for the mental health services, SPMHS established a new referral and assessment service in 2017 with the goal of improving speed of access to our Dean Clinic services. Service users can now access a free-of-charge assessment by an experienced mental health nurse from their own home via a range of communications technologies, including telephone and audio visual technologies.

Against the background of these significant achievements, clinical activity in our day services, adolescent service and Dean Clinic network remained robust. There were almost 3,000 admissions to our inpatient services, in excess of 14,000 day care attendances and over 14,800 appointments at our Dean Clinics in 2017.

Providing Holistic, Quality Care

We also continued to develop and expand the range and quality of our inpatient and day recovery programmes. Demand for our services remains high, reflecting the trust our service users have in us to provide them with holistic, quality care.

Once again in 2017, SPMHS achieved the highest compliance rating of the 64 approved mental health centres around the country inspected by the Mental Health Commission and we remain committed to the achievement of full compliance.

In our strategic role as advocate for the rights of people experiencing mental health difficulties, we made numerous submissions during 2017, including submissions to the Department of Health, the Department of Justice and Equality, the Seanad Public Consultation Committee on Children’s Mental Health and the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health.

Raising Awareness of Mental Health Issues

Through our Empowering Recovery Strategy 2013-2018, we continued our vital work in raising awareness of mental health issues nationwide, and in particular among young people.

Creating a mentally healthy educational environment can have a lasting impact on the wellbeing of children and teenagers. Through our Walk in My Shoes campaign, and new Mission Possible awards, we acknowledged this work and recognised those schools that seek to empower students by creating an ethos of wellbeing.

We have committed to a number of philanthropic initiatives in areas such as homelessness, advocacy, and the provision of free charge care, as well as continuing to support innovative research into mental health disorders. We also continue to support other charities and organisations doing vital work in the area of mental health and rights promotion.

The organisation continues to encourage active service user participation in SPMHS through our active Services Users and Supporters Council (SUAS).

As we enter 2018, SPMHS will seek to build on the significant achievements of 2017 which would not have been possible without the dedication of our Board, staff and volunteers and the continued trust placed in us by our service users.

Paul Gilligan

Paul Gilligan, B.A, M.A, DipClin Psych, ApPSI, RegPsychol,  is a clinical psychologist and Chief Executive of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, the largest independent provider of mental health care in Ireland. He is an internationally recognised children’s rights and child protection advocate and provides consultancy services to a number of child protection organisations in Ireland and Europe.

He is former Vice-Chairman of the National Children’s Advisory Council and the Children’s Rights Alliance. He is also former President of the Psychological Society of Ireland. Before taking up his current post with St. Patrick’s, he was Chief Executive of the ISPCC. He is the author of “Keeping Your Child Safe” and “Raising Emotionally Healthy Children” and is a regular contributor to T.V., radio and print media.

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Report of the Chairman of the Board of Governors