Today, October 10, has been designated World Mental Health Day by the World Health Organisation

The theme for the day is the increased incidence of depression. Praxis Care is a leading mental health charity with services throughtout Ireland and England and has its Ireland base at Ardee Business Park

The theme for the day is the increased incidence of depression. Praxis Care is a leading mental health charity with services throughtout Ireland and England and has its Ireland base at Ardee Business Park

It has organised this Wednesday 10 October a seminar at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dundalk to coincide with World Mental Health Day.

The seminar is called: Depression: A Global Crisis.

Praxis Care has arranged it in partnership with the Health Service Executive (HSE) Louth and admission is free.

Mr Ken Brundle, Praxis Care chairman will open the seminar. The speakers will include Professor Patricia Casey, clinical director for mental health services at the Mater Hospital Dublin and the editor of The Psychiatrist. Ms Jeanne McDonagh, who will give her perspective on using mental health services and Mr David Keenan, Praxis Care Practice Lead who will speak on innovations in mental ill-health care.

There are currently over 400,000 people in Ireland with depression. The World Mental Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that depression will rank second only to heart disease by 2020 in terms of global disability. It is a common, serious and complex illness that affects an estimated 121 million people worldwide.

Depression affects individuals across social, economic, religious and political divides. Many famous people battle with depression and make this information publicly available to help others to cope. Ruby Wax recently visited Ireland and highlighted in her new documentary ‘Mad Confessions’ how she had suffered issues of secrecy and feelings of shame when she battled with her own depressive illness. She encourages other to speak out and seek help.

Dr Gerry Cunningham and Carol Breen are Assistant Directors with Praxis Care and work from its Republic of Ireland base at Ardee Business Park, along with one Admin Assistant.

Carol Breen is Assistant Director for Operations ROI, meaning she has operational responsibility for all the schemes in the Republic of Ireland and also for two mental health schemes based at Newry and Banbridge. Carol is a registered general nurse and has also undertaken a HDip in Health Care Management.

Gerry Cunningham is Assistant Director for Development in ROI. His role comprises of completing tender applications and developing ideas into fully operational schemes.

Gerry is a registered general and psychiatric nurse. He has worked for the Mental Health Commission and played a key role in implementing the Mental Health Act, 2001.

Gerry and Carol regularly work side-by-side in developing new schemes and getting them up and running efficiently.

This is a very busy office. They are constantly in touch with internal and external clients and with the head office in Belfast.

And because Ardee is a central location, the office is also used as a key meeting and training location for Praxis Care staff in the Republic.

“We now offer,” Dr Cunningham said, “via a contact point on our website, a dedicated counselling service which uses cognitive behaviour therapy for the treatment of depression.

“In Louth we are commencing, with Genio funding, a new mental health service to assist people with severe mental illness to return to full community living by accessing educational, recreational and employment opportunities.

“These services are a start but depression is part of a bigger worldwide issue that requires on-going discussion about the resources needed to address it. We must take every opportunity to speak out and improve access to quality services”

For more about Praxis Care visit www.praxiscare.org.uk or call 028 90 234 555.