04 July, 2022

Annual and Outcomes reports show vital services continued and new models of care embedded in 2021

Photos from activities in St Patrick's Mental Health Services in 2021: a nurse standing at the entrance to the hospital in Dublin 8; a player from Shelbourne Football Club wearing the NoStigma campaign jersey; mental health ambassadors taking part in the WIMS Live awareness campaign; and European organisations taking part in the Better Act than React project to support young people's mental health.

Our latest Annual Report and Outcomes Report show St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) continued to deliver high-quality services and develop new models of care in 2021.

The reports highlight how, throughout 2021, we provided vital services while following robust health and safety measures to protect service users and staff against COVID-19.

In fact, our responses to the coronavirus pandemic ushered in a new era for our organisation by enabling us to embed remote services as a model of care alongside our inpatient, outpatient and day services.

Our Chief Executive Officer, Paul Gilligan, said:

“Throughout the pandemic, we have responded positively to the challenges presented, but also continued to strive to future-proof our facilities and our service delivery as we lay the groundwork for meeting the growing and changing demands of society.”

See highlights from our Annual Report

See highlights from our Annual Report

You can read our Annual Report in full here, or find some key highlights below.

Service delivery

2021 saw a year-on-year increase in demand for our services, with approximately 400 clinicians delivering care to over 3,000 service users. During the year, we refined our remote care delivery, first introduced in 2020 in response to the pandemic, establishing our Homecare service as a formal care offering; it made up for 27% of the care we provided in 2021.

While our day programmes continued to run online in 2021, attendance levels rose by 3.6% on 2019’s pre-pandemic levels, reaching over 18,000 attendances. To meet this higher demand, we expanded a number of day services, including our addiction services, dual diagnosis service, eating disorder service and recovery-based programmes.

The majority of the 14,057 appointments through the Dean Clinic network took place remotely in 2021. This represents a 10.6% decrease on the number of appointments in 2020, which is largely due to an unplanned reduction in clinical resources due to the pandemic.

Demand for our Support and Information Service grew by 12.5% in 2021, with over 12,500 contacts in total. Your Portal, our online platform for service users to view and contribute to their health-related information, also saw increased activity and interest: by the end of 2021, more than 1,500 service users were registered to use it.

Over 700 staff in both clinical and non-clinical disciplines worked to deliver care to our service users. In 2021, we were assessed for the IBEC KeepWell Mark, which recognises organisations who place importance on employee’s overall wellbeing and constructive management. As well as successfully retaining the KeepWell Mark, we were nominated in two categories in its annual awards; “Company of the year – Large” and “Best in Class in Mental Health”.

During the Mental Health Commission’s annual inspection of our three approved centres, Willow Grove Adolescent Unit and St Patrick’s, Lucan achieved full compliance with all applicable rules, codes and regulations in 2021. Of all rules, codes and regulations applicable to St Patrick’s University Hospital, one standard was found not to comply. These exemplary results reflect the commitment of all our staff.


Our advocacy function and awareness-raising campaigns continued actively in 2021. Through these activities, our goal is to work towards a society which protects the rights of people experiencing mental health difficulties and empowers people to live mentally healthy lives without fear of stigma or discrimination.

We contributed to 21 consultations in 2021, the highest number in any year to date. Our Advocacy Manager also attended 36 events related to mental health, disability and advocacy activities. This included participating in a meeting convened by the MEP Alliance for Mental Health and attending a high-level conference by the European Commission on COVID-19 and Mental Health.

Our Annual Stigma and Attitudes Mental Health Survey ran in 2021, reporting a 6% rise in the number of people receiving mental healthcare since 2020. It found that, since the onset of the pandemic, a quarter of respondents had experienced mental health difficulties for the first time, with 43% noting that they themselves, or a family member, had sought mental health support during this time.

Our Women’s Mental Health Network, co-hosted with the National Women’s Council, held three webinars and an online networking event in 2021. Its membership grew by 21%, reaching 359 members by the end of the year. 

2021 brought increased engagement for Walk in My Shoes (WIMS), our flagship mental health awareness campaign. More than 2,000 people registered to attend the 11 webinars held by WIMS in 2021, with recordings of these webinars gathering more than 12,000 views on WIMS’ YouTube channel. 49 entries to the Mission Possible school achievement awards were received, while over 2,000 parents responded to a survey of parents run in partnership with the National Parent’s Council. The annual WIMS Live campaign drew over 35 pieces of national and regional media coverage in 2021, with the #wimslive hashtag reaching over one million impressions: the 2021 campaign later won an Award for Excellence in Public Relations.

Close to 400 people registered for the 2021 Founder’s Day conference, which focused on mental health, human rights and the law, while a new family mental health information series also launched in 2021.

Research and education

We are very proud of our research agenda, which is shaped and monitored by a service user steering group and involves co-operation with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and other relevant bodies.

Our Research Ethics Committee (REC) remained active in 2021 with many of its best practice guidelines and operating procedures being updated under the stewardship of its Chair, Professor Joyce O’Connor.

Members of our research teams published 16 peer-reviewed papers in international journals in 2021. A number of multidisciplinary research projects ran during the year also, including:

  • The COWORKER Study exploring the mental health impacts on nursing home and hospital staff
  • The KITE-Dep Trial on the use of ketamine to support treatment for depression
  • Randomised breathalysing to improve abstinence at an open addiction unit.

The Better Act than React project continued in 2021. This Erasmus+ project involves developing a mobile app to support young people’s mental health in partnership with several European organisations. We hosted a meeting of partners in July, and worked towards a training event for youth organisations for April 2022. 

Service user engagement

Engaging with our service users is pivotal in delivering and enhancing our mental health services.

Our Service User and Supporter Council (SUAS) met 12 times in 2021, welcoming a new member to the committee during the year. SUAS members presented nine morning lectures to our service users and one Weekly Academic Meeting to our staff to share information about SUAS and encourage service user participation. Eight new members also joined our Service User Advisory Network (SUAN), bringing it to 112 members, while 16 service user representatives also took part in our Remote Care Advisory Forum which met monthly between May and November to advise on the development of Your Portal and remote services.

SUAS members launched a new online peer-to-peer support service, Here4U, in January, with support from our team. Here4U offered two sessions a week to former service users, with four members of SUAS and SUAN receiving training to become peer facilitators for these sessions. 65 sessions took place between January and October, with over 260 bookings from 55 attendees. Here4U came to a natural end in October due to low demand when public health restrictions around COVID-19 were relaxed.

SUAS reviewed and updated our Carers and Supporters Information Guide in 2021; the new guide was downloaded 165 times in 2021, marking a 23% increase on the number of downloads of the previous version in 2020.

Get an overview of our Outcomes Report

Get an overview of our Outcomes Report

Every year, we produce an Outcomes Report which is related to clinical care pathways, clinical governance processes, clinical programmes and service user experience surveys. Our 2021 report marks its 11th edition.

This report is central to our promotion of excellence in mental healthcare. By collecting, analysing and publishing outcomes from our services, as well as learning from our service users’ experiences, we strive to understand what we do well and what we need to do to continue to improve.

You can read a full version of our Outcomes Report here.

Our summary Outcomes Report here shares highlights of service user feedback and clinical outcomes.

Some key findings from the report are shared in the tables below also.

Download the reports here

Download the reports here

Annual Report

Outcomes Report

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