His new book In My Room – the Recovery Journey as Encountered by a Psychiatrist , is based on composite real-life experiences of depression, alcohol dependence, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress. What Lucey focuses on, though, is not treatment plans and therapeutic approaches, but how the individuals describe their experience and how, in most cases, they learn to move beyond it.

Lucey cites Dr Dorothy Keelan, former senior psychiatrist at the Mater Hospital and the late Prof Anthony Clare, former medical director of St Patrick’s Hospital, as the most significant influences on his decision to become a psychiatrist.

“Dr Keelan showed me how to engage with the whole life of the person in such an intelligent and kind way. And I was so fortunate to work with Dr Clare, who was generous in his teachings and insights and open about psychotherapy. He also saw art, poetry and literature all of value to working with mental health.” (Irish Times) >

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Open to anyone using the mental health services throughout Cork City and county, the project aims to encourage creative activity, raise the profile of the artists, increase awareness of talents, and use art as a bridge between artists and the wider community. In total, 87 paintings go on display.

“Any of the artists will tell you this exhibition empowers them and gives them a sense of purpose,” says Brendan McCarthy, development manager at Cork Mental Health Foundation. (Examiner) >

[From Examiner >] The stigma attached to poor mental health leads to one in five people delaying seeking treatment for a full year, according to research carried out by St Patrick’s University Hospital (SPUH).

Moreover, this stigma is costing lives, said Paul Gilligan, CEO of the country’s largest independent mental health services provider.

Speaking at the launch yesterday of the SPUH annual report 2011, Mr Gilligan described the stigma surrounding mental health as “often subtle”, “extremely damaging”, and “deeply engrained in Irish society”.

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With the Mental Health Act 2001 under review, Joe Jackson explains why patients receiving ECT should be listened to

‘IHATE the bastard doctors who prescribed ECT for my father. It’s tearing him, me, and my whole family to shreds. May those doctors rot in hell.”

That’s what I wrote in my diary on October 10, 1972. Not exactly the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, is it? Nevertheless, nearly 40 years later, even though I now am disinclined to damn nameless doctors and know that electro-convulsive therapy can help some people, it still is something I despise. (Independent) >

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The First Fortnight arts project was founded three years ago by JP Swaine but this was the first year it was extended into a 10-day festival. Mr Swaine said the voluntary organisers were humbled by the “overwhelming positive response” to the cultural events. (Times) >

THE REPUBLIC’S only arts festival dedicated to promoting mental health awareness has opened in Dublin with a wide range of music, film, theatre and more promised over the next two weeks.

A number of specially commissioned art works have been created to coincide with the start of First Fortnight 2012, which takes place in and around Temple Bar.

The festival is being staged in association with See Change, a Government-backed initiative that seeks to challenge discrimination on mental health issues.

Among the highlights of the festival programme is a concert with bands Cashier No 9, Le Galaxie and Royseven, whose song We Should Be Lovers was the most played Irish single on radio here last year.

Other highlights include a series of new short films from directors such as Hugh O’Connor and Mary Redmond, a number of visual art and photography exhibitions and two performances of 565+, a play that tells the story of how one woman sought solace in the theatre when struggling with depression. (Times) >