As Ceann Comhairle I would like to thank you for visiting the webpage of the Parliamentary Forum on Mental Health, taking place in Dublin Castle.

This Forum will provide an opportunity for Members of Dáil and Seanad Éireann to listen to the experiences of those working in the delivery of vital services in the many areas of mental health support in Ireland and also those that use the services.

The Forum will be moderated by broadcaster and journalist Alison O’Connor and following a keynote address from former professional rugby player Alan Quinlan, we will have two panels of experts sharing their views under specific headings

Panel 1: ‘A Vision for Change’ what should follow in terms of policy in the area? How can we refresh the vision?

Panel 2: How can we promote positive mental health in society and the workplace, what works?

As part of this Forum we will have the opportunity to hear from some of the preeminent personalities in service provision and best practice and we actively encourage you to join the debate, share ideas with your colleagues and help us put forward positive and constructive suggestions of how we can shape policy and promote positive mental health. You can find us across the social media platforms using the hashtag #ParlForum or indeed send us an email to ParliamentaryForum@oireachtas.ie.

Mental health and wellbeing is a broad and complex area in which much improvement has been carried out over the last number of years but there is, however, much work still to be done in terms of policy, service delivery and the social stigma attached to those who require these important services.

As work continues on the policy document that will follow ‘A Vision for Change’, a newly formed Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care will work towards achieving cross-party agreement on the implementation of a single, long-term vision for mental health care and the direction of mental health policy in Ireland. This Forum is an opportunity for us as Parliamentarians to listen to your experience, to open debate and to plan for the future.

The Committee has been given the goal of making “recommendations on how best to align Ireland’s mental health services and supports to increase availability and accessibility, recruit and retain personnel and complete the implementation of ‘A Vision for Change’ in order to provide a more integrated mental health service of the highest quality” and this is where we value your participation.

We are inviting representatives from many different agencies delivering mental health services national and regionally across the spectrum and I look forward to hearing from you too on what is an extremely important area for us all.

Best regards,

Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD