St Patrick’s Mental Health Services’ Founder’s Day 2017 was held on November 30th, and was timed to coincide with the 350th anniversary of Jonathan Swift – the founder of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services. Swift once said: “A tavern is a place where madness is sold by the bottle,” and to celebrate his legacy, Founder’s Day 2017 was split into two sections, with the first half discussing the life and legacy of Swift and the second part exploring alcohol dependence and its prevention, care and treatment.
Addiction psychiatry has a long history in St Patrick’s Mental Health Services. In 1946, the founder of AA Ireland held their first meeting in Ireland at St Patrick’s University Hospital. In the mid-1960s, John G. Cooney began practising at St Patrick’s and started developing the Alcohol and Chemical Dependence Programme. The dual diagnosis programme started in 2003 and in 2009, the Temple Centre for Addiction for Mental Healthcare was founded and is based on St Patrick’s University Hospital campus.
The plenary speaker, Prof Marcin Wojnar, head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Warsaw, was joined by Dr Peter Rice, chair of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP); Brendan Twomey from the history department in Trinity College Dublin; Rolande Anderson, alcohol/addiction counsellor; and Dr Conor Farren, psychiatrist at St Patrick's Mental Health Services, specialising in addiction.
Other speakers included St Patrick’s Mental Health Services CEO, Paul Gilligan and medical director, Prof Jim Lucey. Minister Jim Daly, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health also spoke on the day.
Prof Jim Lucey highlights Jonathan Swift’s lasting impact on St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.
Brendan Twomey - Swift and the Origins of St Patrick’s Hospital – Mr Twomey, from Trinity College’s history department, shares the story of how Jonathan Swift came to found St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.
Dr Conor Farren - Technology and the Treatment of Alcohol Misuse – Dr Conor Farren is currently researching novel technology-based treatment for alcohol misuse. Dr Farren highlights how new technology can be used for the treatment of addiction.
Dr Peter Rice - Getting the Best Buys in the Shopping Basket: Improving Mental Health through Alcohol Policy – Dr Rice shares some of his vast knowledge on how to evaluate current research and identify strategies to reduce alcohol-related health damage.
Mr Rolande Anderson - For Bitter, For Worse – Rolande discusses the repercussions of alcoholism on the family, living with a problem drinker and recovery from alcohol dependence.
Prof Marcin Wojnar – In our Founder’s Day plenary lecture, Prof Wojnar presents a discussion on addiction and how treatment can differ country to country and the evolution of treatments in Eastern Europe.