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The intimate links between health and happiness

Good physical health appears to contribute to happiness, while happiness appears to contribute to good physical health Is there a link between physical health and happiness? If so, how strong is the association and what can we do to optimise the benefits that good physical health can bring to our sense of mental wellbeing and…

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Monitoring the Mental Health Act amendments

Amendments to the Mental Health Act should be reversed as soon as it is safe to do so post Covid-19 In late March, the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 was passed by the Dáil and Seanad, and signed by President Michael D Higgins. The Act’s major provisions made the headlines, especially the…

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Museum of the mind

The case-books and exhibits at Bethlem give an insight into the lives of people with mental illness in the early asylums Platoons of burly security officers effortlessly dominate the foyer of London City Airport. The airport is clean and efficient, with narrow corridors and tight circulation space. A line of businessmen queue in a highly-organised…

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State is failing on Traveller mental health

The mental health needs of the Irish Traveller community are both under-recognised and urgent In 2006, Ireland’s national mental health policy, A Vision for Change, highlighted certain “priority issues in health promotion”. The policy pointed to the particular needs of “service-users and carers”, but also promised that “the needs of other groups such as Travellers,…

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A forgotten revolutionary psychiatrist

The contribution of Prof Franco Basaglia in shifting care away from asylums should be recognised Psychiatry is never short of critics, controversies and debates. The most vocal critics, such as the late Thomas Szasz, author of The Myth of Mental Illness (1961), often come from within the profession itself. Prof Franco Basaglia, the reformist Italian…

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The value of personal histories of depression

Memoirs detailing struggles with depression are important to reduce the continued stigma associated with the condition Depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). More than 300 million people around the world are currently living with depression, an increase of over 18 per cent…

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From Barrytown to No 6 Kildare Street

Roddy Doyle’s literary achievements make him an extremely worthy recipient of the RCPI’s Honorary Fellowship On 21 June, Irish writer Roddy Doyle became an Honorary Fellow of the RCPI. Since 1654, the RCPI has been working to improve patient care and standards of medical practice in Ireland. The College’s home, 6 Kildare Street, is a…

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Time to be pragmatic on cannabis use

A public health approach is required in response to evidence showing the damaging effect cannabis use can have on mental health, according to Prof Brendan Kelly It comes as no surprise to anyone working in mental health services that the strength of cannabis being consumed in Ireland has increased rapidly over the past decade. Cannabis…

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Psychiatry: Forever in dissent

Prof Brendan Kelly responds to George Winter’s recent column on psychiatry and defends the discipline from critics who question its scientific basis George Winter’s thoughtful musings on psychiatry sent me scurrying to my bookshelves to retrieve my dog-eared copy of Psychiatry in Dissent: Controversial Issues in Thought and Practice, the superb defence of psychiatry written…

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