Citizen Journalism Ireland: Mental Health the Cinderella of all professions by Michelle Clarke. At last: 28/11/2019 a National Hotline will operate. Freephone number 1800 111 888. People power works.


“Don’t agonize, organize”

Floryce Kennedy (1916-2001)

Decades later, many letters, much correspondence, many promises but at last there is hope for people with mental health and related concerns.  There is a 24 hour service available as and from today 28th November 2019, spearheaded into action by Junior Minister for Mental Health, Jim Daly.  Thank you so very much Mr Daly and the team behind you.  The hotline number freephone number is 1800 111 888.

  • The National Ambulance Service will operate and oversee the helpline which can be accessed through the free number 1800 111 888
  • Roll out of counselling, psychology and psychiatry initiatives (a special textline will be introduced over the coming months)
  • Caller will be linked to member who will provide information about supports available in their area and nationally (trained in SafeTalk an internationally recognised training programme…which will also cover suicide intervention).
  • Phone 1800 111 888 and you will be connected to someone who will direct you into contact with the relevant service from over 1,000 mental health supports and services bodies eg Samaritans, Jigsaw, and other Section 39 bodies that operate charities in the private sector.


Earlier correspondence and writing by Michelle Clarke regarding the inadequate provision of mental health services in Ireland.


November 2015:  Nothing changes.  One year now since I first raised the question how much does the State pay the HSE for a bed in St Vincents University hospital Psychiatric Unit.  My question is simple.  I know that people with severe mental health problems who are treated in the UK are billed at Stg500,000 plus per year.  The suggested cost for a bed in a public psychiatric hospital is e28,000.  Nobody can answer the question.  The Taoiseach refers it to the Minister for Health; there is no reply.  Two questions have been raised in the Dail.  Where is the cost benefit analysis?  A student leaves university 10 years ago and is on the revolving door of in and out of HSE psychiatric hospital, this time it is 16 months duration and they are still an inpatient.  Surely, his family and the State have some obligations?

Having consistently written about the inadequate provision of mental health services since 2003, I am including a selection of articles written over the years to politicians, to health professionals, to mental health related bodies, to open publishing sites etc.  I shudder because I fail to see any improvements and if anything there is a deterioration in the provision and commitment of mental health services provided for our most vulnerable people.

I will start with John Carthy, RIP – The Barr Tribunal

Dé Luain Meitheamh 19, 2006 16:15

John Carthy RIP:  Shockingly, I hear there is a delay to the findings of the Barr Tribunal

by Michelle Clarke re: Two Tier health system
Who has the Power?
Are we forming an underclass!!!

Why? Is it strategic or is it Shame?

I am asking the question because of the outright inadequacy of mental health services and integrated services to cater for the needs of people with health problems particularly mental health problems.

I recall being present an Irish Penal Reform Trust meeting; a Forensic Psychiatrist and his wise words about mental health definitions. The categories of say bipolar equate the same in the outside world and within the hospital implying that a lot of what is termed Psychiatric are in fact social problems. I have written an 18 page essay dealing with this topic over two centuries (ref Trinity College 1997-2003 but No Degree).

Anxiety can take you by the throat and stifling every bit of stamina and energy from you.  Anxiety and depression or for that matter schizophrenia can work in tandem.  Listen to your patients and fight for the funding to provide an adequate medical service and perhaps have less people walking the streets and begging often due to illegal drug addiction.  I have heard that if you have mental health problems in the US, you are 4 times more likely to be shot by the police.

Where is the Barr Tribunal Report?  What is holding it up?  Where were the social services and the doctors at the time that John Carthy was shot dead by members of An Gardai Siochana.

The Morris Tribunal has reported. Let’s clean up the act and hear what Mr. Justice Barr has to say?

Mental Health is about stigma.   Suicide and mental health are closely linked. Ogra Shinn Fein and so many others are targeting suicide but really, from personal experience, a back drop of community health services with no financial charges are required to deal with the multiplicity that forms mental health and this includes addictions of all kinds; it includes our young people because the later the onset of a psychiatric illness, the better for all concerned.  This is a public health problem but we have a situation in Ireland presently sanctioned by a money grabbing greedy government, of associations/charities who raise funds by activities like Balls, Running etc. This is fine but let’s get real, we are talking about a public health crisis and the need for consistency and initiative for all people.

Wake up time and patients don’t be put down. Your health and the doctors opinion is a genesis, technology has opened the door and opportunities exist.

Reform.  What nonsense if the professionals you employ are so non motivated. Public health doctors are concerned about their private practice and lucrative earnings while hospital appointed registrars-my personal experience is frightening. Why can you not come up with some form of ready reckoner and grant system so that people like me with traumatic brain injury, bipolar, anxiety further complicated by chronic fatigue can have complete progressive community services rather than a situation like Baggot Street Community hospital that recognises the stigma of your illness and and basically just says welcome to the Underclass. A young woman, when I gained sufficient energy to walk there, gave me a little hope when she suggested the option, a visit to the Citizens Advice Bureau in Adelaide Road, to help me sort out some of the social problems I was encountering.

by Michelle Clarke

“While there is a lower class, I am in it.
Where there is a criminal element, I am of it.
While there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
Eugene Debs (1855-1926) US trade unionist and political leader, helped found the Socialist Party of America. (Very interesting interview on internet by Bernie Sanders talking about this man – worth watching).

About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
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3 Responses to Citizen Journalism Ireland: Mental Health the Cinderella of all professions by Michelle Clarke. At last: 28/11/2019 a National Hotline will operate. Freephone number 1800 111 888. People power works.


  2. Pingback: Citizen Journalism Ireland: Mental Health the Cinderella of all professions by Michelle Clarke | canisgallicus

  3. Kim says:

    Thaank you for writing this


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