Successful Discussions in Disability Conference hosted in August 2019 – Youth Mental Health: Break the Stigma

PDFs of Conference presentations

The Centre for Disability Studies was delighted to collaborate with YOULEAD, a doctoral training programme in youth mental health, on our 2019 Discussions in Disability Conference ‘Youth Mental Health: Break the Stigma’.  Hosted in UCD on 30 August 2019, this day-long conference was chaired by Prof Eilis Hennessy, Professor at UCD’s School of Psychology and YOULEAD research supervisor and Dr Christine Linehan, Director of the UCD Centre for Disability Studies. The morning session was opened by Professor Colin Scott, UCD Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Professor Suzanne Guerin, Head of UCD School of Psychology, both of whom extended a warm welcome to all. The conference began with an exploration of the evidence-base and lived experience of youth mental health stigma. Contributions included: Dr Amanda Fitzgerald, UCD, sharing new data from the My World Survey of youth mental health; Prof Eilis Hennessy explaining the nature and impact of stigma; Elliott MacGabhann vividly sharing the lived experience of psychosis; Emer Conneelly, a YOULEAD doctoral candidate examining the representation of young people in mental health service delivery; and Dr Aileen O’Reilly and Youth Advisory Panelist Rachel White discussing Jigsaw’s work, which included a contemporary and thought-provoking rap delivered by Rachel. The morning closed with a lively questions and answers session, much of which was directed to our two invited youth advocates, Elliott and Rachel.

Prof Colin Scott welcome Discussions in Disability YMH stigma 2019

In the afternoon, national campaigns to reduce youth mental health stigma were outlined by: Deirdre McHugh, National Educational Psychological Service, discussing the National Wellbeing Policy for Schools; John Saunders, Shine, who highlighted our use, and misuse, of stigmatising terminology; and Kim Dempsey from Pieta House who outlined Pieta’s Resilience Academy programme. Our day ended with a panel of expert policy advisers and practitioners chaired by Jigsaw founder, and UCD Adjunct Professor, Tony Bates. Panelists comprised Donie O’Shea, National Disability Authority; Sinead Reynolds HSE Mental Health; Rosemary Smyth, Mental Health Commission; Laurence Bond, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission; and Beatrice Dooley, Institute of Guidance Counsellors. Panelists praised the excellent research and initiatives being undertaken to tackle stigma, noting that the inclusion of young people themselves is central to the ongoing development of quality services in this field.

Discussions in Disability 2019 YMH Stigma Group photo

For twitter reporting on this conference, go to #discussionsindisability