Report Shows Investment In Mental Health Care Will Benefit Economy

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The Mental Health Commission today published a report - The Economics of Mental Health Care in Ireland - prepared by Eamon O'Shea and Brendan Kennelly of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and Department of Economics, NUI Galway, showing the economic benefits of investment in services to deal with mental health problems. Such problems cost the economy over €3 billion a year. The report also contains economic survey results which show the public would be willing to pay more for community based mental health services. The estimated cost to the economy of mental health problems in 2006 in Ireland was over €3 billion, which is more than two per cent of GNP, the report says. The health care system accounts for less than one quarter of the costs. The main economic costs of mental health problems are located in the labour market as a result of lost employment, absenteeism, lost productivity and premature retirement. There are also costs imposed on the prison service, social services dealing with homelessness and informal care costs as well as lost output and productivity. The significant human and social costs associated with mental health problems, including pain, suffering, stigma, reduction in quality of life and suicide are not included in the baseline estimates. The Mental Health Commission strongly supports the implementation of the Government policy on mental health, A Vision for Change. This policy requires substantial investment in the development of community treatment facilities to replace the institutional care approach. "Resources are not infinite, so choices must be made between alternative uses of the same resource or service", said Bríd Clarke, Chief Executive officer, Mental Health Commission. "As the report says, 'economic analysis is therefore a crucial aid to decision making on resource allocation and on priority setting'." While decisions on resource allocation are grounded in values, economics is a central tool in the making of these decisions. The economic reasons for policy makers to invest more in mental health are: (1) The economic cost of poor mental health in Ireland is very significant; (2) The Irish public has expressed a willingness to pay extra taxation for a mental health programme that would enable more people to live in the community; (3) There is a burgeoning economic base of evidence about particular interventions which have a positive effect on the quality of life of people with mental health problems. The authors of the report used a well-known technique in economics – a contingent valuation survey – to estimate how much people would be willing to pay in extra taxation for a particular improvement in mental health services. The results from the survey demonstrated that people would be willing to make significant tax contributions to new community-based services for people with mental health problems. However, the survey also found that people tend to value spending on cancer and ageing programmes more than they do mental health care. The share of total public health expenditure spent on mental health services has fallen in the past twenty years from just under 14% in 1984 to 7.76% in 2007. However in absolute terms there has been a four-fold increase in per capita spending over this period and it has roughly doubled in the past decade. "We have not yet made the connection between increased public spending on mental health care and individual and societal gains", said Dr. Edmond O'Dea, Chairman, Mental Health Commission. "Making mental health a national health priority in Ireland would be an important first step in realising the potential gains associated with increased spending on mental health. As part of that prioritisation, we should set a target of 10 per cent for mental health care expenditure as a proportion of overall health expenditure, to be realised over a five year period." Dr. O'Dea said this study was commissioned because of the need to show the economic, as well as social and personal benefits of investment in mental health care. He said society's decisions to spend money on providing support and services to its more vulnerable members are based on values, not simply on cost/benefit analysis. "But an increased understanding of the economic benefit of spending on mental health care will help ensure it is prioritised. Individuals benefit from increased spending on mental health care, but so do communities, society and the economy. For all of these reasons, mental health must become a national health priority, with specific targets for expenditure, evaluation and outcomes." To download the report, please go to Ends

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Head of Amnesty International to Speak at NUI Galway

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The head of Amnesty International, Ms Irene Zubaida Khan, will deliver a public lecture at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 17 September, at 2.15pm in the Aula Maxima. Ms Khan was appointed Secretary General of Amnesty International in 2001, becoming the first woman, Asian and Muslim to lead the human rights organisation. Her lecture will be entitled 'At sixty, is it time for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to retire?'. Ms Khan has broadened the work of Amnesty International in areas of economic, social and cultural rights. She has led high level missions to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel/Occupied Territories, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Spain, Thailand, the Darfur region of Sudan, and Nepal. Deeply concerned about women's human rights, she initiated a process of consultations with women activists to design a global campaign by Amnesty International against violence on women, which was launched in March 2004. The event is being hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh, a lecturer with the Centre, says Ms Khan is an inspiring individual: "She brings with her a wealth of experience, both personal and professional, which has helped to shape and direct the movement. There are huge challenges facing the human rights regime in the wake of the so-called 'war on terror'. Despite early criticisms, Irene was steadfast in her arguments that international civil society must not be consumed by the politics of fear, and she has led Amnesty's efforts to recapture this human rights versus security debate". In 1980, Ms Khan joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and worked in a variety of positions at Headquarters and in field operations to promote the international protection of refugees. From 1991 to 1995 she was Senior Executive Officer to Mrs. Sadako Ogata, then UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Appointed as the UNHCR Chief of Mission in India in 1995, Ms Khan was the youngest country representative at that time, and in 1998 headed the UNHCR Centre for Research and Documentation. She led the UNHCR team in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia during the Kosovo crisis in 1999, and was appointed Deputy Director of International Protection later that year. Ms Khan studied law at the University of Manchester and Harvard Law School, specialising in public international law and human rights. She is the recipient of several academic awards, a Ford Foundation Fellowship, the 2006 City of Sydney Peace Prize, the Pilkington 'Woman of the Year' Award 2002, and the John Owens Distinguished Alumni Award of the University of Manchester. She has been awarded honorary doctorates by Ferris University (Japan) and Staffordshire University (UK). Ms Khan has been voted one of the 100 Most Influential Asians and one of the 100 Most Influential Muslims in the UK. -ends-

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Pharmaceutical and Biotech Expert Joins NUI Galway Technology Transfer Office

Monday, 15 September 2008

Pharmaceutical and biotech business leader, Dr John Kavanagh, has taken over as NUI Galway's Director of Technology Transfer. He will work with the University's Ignite Technology Transfer Office to commercialise and license the work of researchers on campus. Dr Kavanagh will also further develop the University's partnerships with industry and the business community. Dr Kavanagh joins NUI Galway from Bioniche Teoranta, a company based in Inverin, Co. Galway, specialising in sterile injectables, where he was Managing Director for five years. Previously, he occupied senior positions at Abbott Laboratories, Sandoz/Novartis and Schering-Plough. Speaking about his new role, Dr Kavanagh said: "NUI Galway was the first University in Ireland to create a dedicated technology transfer office. I look forward to building on the excellent work that has already taken place." He added: "Never more so, than when there is an economic downturn, does the entrepreneurial approach to business need to be nurtured. The University, with its world-leading research and strong industry partnerships is well positioned to continue its technology commercialisation success." So far this year, the University's Ignite Technology Transfer Office has filed 42 invention disclosures, 15 patents and licensed six technologies to industry. Professor Terry Smith, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, welcomed Dr Kavanagh to the University: "John brings with him a wealth of experience in all aspects of technology transfer and the commercialisation of research. He will, no doubt, lead the further development and growth of the Ignite Technology Transfer Office in the coming years." Originally from Dublin, Dr Kavanagh is a graduate of UCD, having completed a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry. He also holds a Diploma in Applied Finance from the Irish Management Institute. -ends-

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NUI Galway Issues Call for Entries to Schools Science Competition

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway has issued a call to secondary schools for entries to its fourth annual Schools' Science Essay Competition 2008. Sponsored by Galway-based medical technology company Medtronic, essays are invited on the topic 'Boundaries of Science – is there anything we should not do?'. The competition is open to all students in the senior cycle of secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland and also, for the first time, schools in Northern Ireland. Closing date for receipt of entries is Friday, 31 October, 2008. REMEDI's Schools' Science Essay Competition was launched in 2005 to stimulate discussion among students on the ethical and societal implications of advances in biomedical research. Competition prizes include a laptop, iPOD, crystal trophies and school prizes of science equipment bursaries. Prizes will be presented at the BT Young Scientist Festival in January of 2009. Last year, Catherine Duane of Holy Faith Secondary School, Clontarf, Dublin took the top prize. Professor Tim O'Brien, Director of REMEDI, explained the motivation for the competition: "The purpose of this project, as with all our secondary school initiatives, is to encourage young people to take an active interest in contemporary scientific research, and to consider a career in this field. Science communication should always be a two way process. While it is important for REMEDI to publicly discuss research taking place in the areas of stem cell and gene therapy, it is equally important for our scientists to listen to the public's views on this research. We have found 16-18 year-olds are more than eager to express their views on some of the questions raised by this research." Noreen Moloney, R&D New Technologies Manager at Medtronic, said: "Exciting our young people about science and engineering is crucial. Giving them the hunger, skills and confidence to tackle the next generation of scientific and technological unknowns is a key challenge. Scientific and engineering knowledge will be the drivers of our future prosperity and I strongly believe that the sponsorship of the REMEDI national essay competition is an excellent initiative which helps promote interest in science among students." Full details of the competition rules, helpful hints and additional information on how to enter are available on the education section of the REMEDI website REMEDI is an SFI funded research institute at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science located at NUI Galway. -ends-

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Fáil ag Mic Léinn OÉ Gaillimh ar na hEalaíona Cruthaitheacha

Monday, 15 September 2008

Beidh fáil níos éasca ag mic léinn OÉ Gaillimh ar na healaíona cruthaitheacha ó seolfar clár na nEalaíon Cruthaitheach 2008-2009. Seo an tríú bliain a bhfuil an clár á reáchtáil. Tá an clár deartha go háirithe d'fhochéimithe agus eagrófar imeachtaí agus léirithe Drámaíochta Idirnáisiúnta, Scannán, Ceoil Chlasaicigh, Rince, Ealaíon Traidisiúnta, Amharcealaíon agus Litríochta Gaeilge mar chuid de. Tríd an gclár Ealaíon Cruthaitheach, beidh deis ag mic léinn freastal ar léirithe agus plé leis na healaíontóirí a bheidh rannpháirteach iontu. Tá ainmneacha cáiliúla ar an gclár, ina measc na ceoltóirí Frankie Gavin agus Máirtín O'Connor, na haisteoirí Bríd Ní Neachtain agus Mick Lally, agus an téadcheathairéad clasaiceach ón Rómáin ConTempo. Ar an gclár chomh maith tá an ensemble clasaiceach idirnáisiúnta Gatto Marte agus an Now Dance Company as an gCóiré. I measc na n-imeachtaí drámaíochta atá ar an gclár tá léiriú de The Cripple of Inishmaan le Martin McDonagh, á stiúradh ag Garry Hynes agus an chéad léiriúchán riamh de dhráma Marina Carr, Marble, in Amharclann na Mainistreach. Deir Mary McPartlan, Stiúrthóir an chláir Ealaíon Cruthaitheach in OÉ Gaillimh: "Cuireann an clár nua rogha deiseanna ar fáil le taithí a fháil ar ealaíona d'ardchaighdeán trína mbuailfidh mic léinn le healaíontóirí gairmiúla oilte i ngach réimse ealaíon. Tá sé de chuspóir aige saibhriú a dhéanamh ar a saol siúd uile a bheidh rannpháirteach ann agus intinn agus samhlaíocht na mac léinn a chothú." Chomh maith le léirithe ealaíonta, tá seisiún eolais ar an gclár maidir le deiseanna iarchéime le Scoil Scannán & Meán Digiteach Huston na hOllscoile. Deir an tOllamh Kevin Barry, Déan Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh go gcuireann an clár leis an taithí ar shaol an mhic léinn: "Is cuid thábhachtach den oideachas in OÉ Gaillimh iad na healaíona cruthaitheacha, agus is cuid lárnach iad chomh maith de chroí cultúrtha na Cathrach. Déanann an clár Ealaíon Cruthaitheach, tríd an tacaíocht leanúnach ó lucht gairmiúil na n-ealaíon, saibhriú ar an gcuraclam do mhic léinn. Táimid ag cur deiseanna ar fáil chomh maith dár mic léinn le dul leis na tionscail chruthaitheacha amach anseo." Cuirfear tús leis an gclár an 25 Meán Fómhair in Amharclann na Cathrach, Gaillimh nuair a léireoidh Compántas Amharclainne Druid The Cripple of Inishmaan, a bheidh á stiúradh ag Garry Hynes. - críoch -

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