Shine statement in response to article published in Galway City Tribune

Shine’s response to the article entitled “Sex Offenders will be treated beside school – Concerns over psych unit”, published on pages 1 and 3 of the Galway City Tribune on Friday 24th May 2019

As a national voluntary organisation, supporting and working with people with severe mental ill health, and their families, Shine considers the above named article, published in the Galway City Tribune on Friday 24th May to be acutely stigmatising.

The article refers to outpatients of the HSE’s Mental Health Services as “including sex offenders and violent criminals”. Creating the link between mental ill health and violence, unpredictable behaviours and a sexual predatory nature is stigmatising and misleading, feeding into public misconception and the creation of fear and anger.

Stigma experienced by people because of their mental health problem can act as a barrier to speaking out, seeking help and recovery, and can result in treatment discontinuity. Shine is concerned that the context of the above named article, feeds into stereotyping and prejudice opinions that people form when they are not fully aware of the facts. People with self- experience of mental health conditions frequently encounter discrimination which can have a detrimental negative impact including isolation and exclusion.

Mr John Saunders, CEO of Shine said, “International research demonstrates that the relationship between many psychiatric illnesses and violent behaviours or a sexual predatory nature does not exist, showing that attitudes toward people with self-experience of mental ill health are in most cases subject to a biased prejudice and / or stereotype.”

Ends

Festival of Art, 14th June

The Shine Dublin Resource Centre will hold a Festival of Art exhibition on Friday 14th June from 11am – 3pm, at Shine Dublin Resource Centre, 13 Belvedere Court, Dublin 1. Light refreshments will be served on the day.

This event is supported by the HSE National Lottery Funding

All welcome!

Shine Supports The Cannabis Risk Alliance’s Position on Cannabis Regulation

Shine supports the statement released by The Cannabis Risk Alliance yesterday, that claims that the Government is “sleepwalking” toward legalising the cannabis drug for medicinal purposes, without considering the harms associated with its use.

Shine acknowledges and recognises that there is significant illegal use of cannabis in various forms in Ireland. Shine is aware that the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD, is planning to sign off on legislation to underpin the medicinal cannabis scheme in the coming weeks and that the Government said last year, that it was considering decriminalising possession of small quantities of cannabis and other drugs.

As a national voluntary organisation, supporting and working with people with severe mental ill health, and their families, Shine does not support the decriminalisation of cannabis for social and recreational use, and will only support the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use, if it is safe and managed in a controlled manner.

Recent studies have demonstrated that for those who have a vulnerability to mental ill health, including a family history or previous mental health difficulties, cannabis can precipitate a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia. Similar studies show that those who use cannabis, experience psychosis five years earlier than those who don’t use the drug.

John Saunders, CEO of Shine said; “There is strong evidence from various large international studies of a link between cannabis use and mental health problems, with the strongest evidence for schizophrenia. There is also considerable evidence of the effects of long term cannabis use on intellectual and physical functions and there is evidence that exposure to the drug during adolescence may lead to higher incidents of mental illness in the future”.

He continues; “We agree with The Cannabis Risk Alliance, that cannabis is often portrayed as a relatively harmless drug, in comparison to other substances such as heroin, amphetamines and cocaine, however, this perception can sometimes lead to an underestimation of the serious consequences of using cannabis.”

Shine does not support the legalisation or decriminalisation of cannabis production and distribution for social and recreational use on the grounds that there may be significant mental, physical and social harm to specific vulnerable groups of people in the population.

Shine does support The Cannabis Risk Alliance in calling on the Government to “initiate an urgent and unbiased examination of the evidence about cannabis use and cannabis-related health harms in Ireland and a comprehensive public education campaign.”

Shine Recovery Fund

What is the Shine Recovery Fund?

The purpose of the Shine Recovery Fund is to facilitate a person with self experience of mental ill health to achieve some aim, which may be an educational, recreational or social activity and which may require a small amount of money to help him/ her achieve this purpose.

Applications must be for a recognised project where there is a clear need and benefit from undertaking it. Examples of projects, which might be supported include:

●     part payment or full payment of educational or training course fees.

●     contribution towards the development of a creative or artistic project.

●     contribution towards participation in a recreational activity.

●     contribution towards the purchase of an item which may assist the person in a creative, educational or work activity.

●     contribution to a project which enhances the person’s employment, self-esteem or presence in the community.

For information on conditions of application and to apply, click here.

To read our privacy statement for Shine Recovery Fund applications click here.

See Change officially launches the 7th annual Green Ribbon Campaign


On Tuesday 30th April, See Change, Shine’s national programme dedicated to ending mental health stigma, officially launched the 7th annual Green Ribbon Campaign in the Mansion House, Dublin. 

The Green Ribbon Campaign aims to end the stigma and change people’s attitudes to mental health problems by prompting hundreds of events and thousands of conversations all over Ireland during the month of May each year. The campaign was launched by Hannah Tyrell, Ireland International Rugby player and mental health advocate and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring. 

Speaking about the importance of ending mental health stigma, keynote speaker Hannah Tyrell said; “I am honoured to be here today at the launch of the Green Ribbon Campaign. For me, the fear of shame and stigma of dealing with a mental health problem in the past meant that I was reluctant to share what I was going through with anyone or seek help, which led me to a very dark place. We need to create an environment where people can be open about their mental health difficulties and promote a greater understanding and acceptance of mental ill health.”

See Change is a national partnership working to change minds about mental health problems in Ireland. Funded by the HSE National Office of Suicide Prevention, the partnership is made up of over 100 organisations and 60 Ambassadors who work to reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems and challenge discrimination. 

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring said; “It is so encouraging to witness the Green Ribbon campaign gaining momentum year after year in creating a progressive community driven social movement to end the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems. Stigma is a significant problem for people who experience mental ill health and has been recognised as a barrier to recovery Families and communities play a vital part in the recovery process, so we all share a responsibility to talk about mental health and work together to break the stigma.” 

Ahead of the event, John Meehan, Head of the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention commented; “Understanding, challenging and reducing the stigma associated with so many aspects of mental health, is a crucial strand of work associated with Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide. In this respect, we are delighted to support this year’s Green Ribbon Campaign and numerous other stigma reduction activities, delivered by See Change and others working in the area.”

Barbara Louise Brennan, See Change Programme Coordinator adds: “There is an assumption that you need to be an expert to talk about mental health, but the reality is, you don’t! Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is to let someone know that you are there for them and simply listen. Wear the Green Ribbon and start your conversation. One person can make a difference, you can be the change”.