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mental illness

St John of God Research Study Day are currently presenting findings from their studies, which show a rapid increase of people presenting with gender dysphoria.

Today is the 28th Annual St John of God Research Study day, and features researchers and academics from the medical field displaying the results of their analysis.

Consultant Endocrinologist at St. Columcille's Hospital Loughlinstown, Professor Donal O'Shea, has stated from his own exploration in the field that 210 people presented with the condition last year, increasing from 10 in 2007.

This represents a 2100% increase over the entire decade. Dr. Paul Moran, Consultant Psychiatrist at St John of God Community Services, has joined Professor O’Shea to discuss the imperative needs of transgender people.

This vital talk comes just ahead of the launch of the National Gender Service, which hopes to make a difference in the difficulties which numerous members of the transgender community face daily.

According to Professor O’Shea:

“We see the most positive outcomes for patients experiencing gender dysphoria when a holistic and better paced transition journey is taken, with family support. I have observed patients who transitioned hastily, ultimately regretting the decision after irreversible treatment has taken place."

"The new national gender service has been established to address the rising prevalence of gender dysphoria and to ensure that those individuals who require this service receive the best possible holistic care."

St John of God Research Foundation Study are aiming to further examine the theme of 'an evidence based path to service provision; as well as interim results on the gap in mental health care for teenagers and young adults.

Another disturbing fact raised today stated that 50% of the general population who are experiencing mental illness are not being referred for child and adolescent mental health services after the age of 18.

The adult mental health services could intervene at this crucial time in the lives of those experiencing mental illness such as suicidal ideation, eating disorders, depression and ADHD.

The St John of God Research Foundation is presently being funded by the European Commission, and the landmark MILESTONE study is being conducted across 8 European counties, Ireland included.

Professor Fiona McNicholas, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at St John of God Hospitaller Services and Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin is leading the Irish research on the MILESTONE study. She stated that:

“Mental health disorders are established early in childhood and for many persist into adulthood. The interim results of the MILESTONE study highlight that by not transitioning adolescents with established mental illness to an appropriate mental health service, we are leaving vulnerable teenagers without the support and medical care required."

"Without treatment, progress and recovery is hampered. Many will present only at times of crisis to emergency services, such as following suicide attempts or self-harm."

"They are prevented from receiving appropriate treatment that would help them live healthier lives, instead the huge percentage of young people not transitioning are more likely to be marginalised and experience homelessness, drug abuse and unemployment.”

Ireland's failure to effectively transition it's youth is not unusual for Europe. Broad European findings of the MILESTONE study which are being presented by Dr Helena Toumainen, from the University of Warwick supports this argument. 

Vanessa Lacey from the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) will be speaking today regarding loss from a transgender family's perspective.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by CreagerCole Communications (@creagercole_pr) on

For more information. please visit the St. John of God website.

Other support services include the national LGBT helpline, BeLonGTo, and advice for parents and a guide for terminology.

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Cats and dogs have been, for a long time, man’s companions, pets, a part of your family. But with the new technology wave spreading nowadays, the digital era brings a new type of invention, a new type of ‘pets’: robot pets.

Robot pets – What are they.

An artificial intelligence, AI for short, inside a machine, a robot pet is, as the name implies, a robot designed in the shape and size of a common pet: dog, cat or even bird. Made to be similar in attitude and behaviour with a real animal, robot pets are used to help elderly people that, for various reasons, cannot keep a pet.

The robots are supposed to help with dark emotions, like depression, to keep the elderly active, maintaining their wish to live, fresh. But with the creation of such robot pets, comes the question everyone asks at the end. Can robot pets really replace real dogs and cats? The answer is simple: it depends on the individual.

There are numerous benefits when it comes to owning a robot pet:

Helps with several mental illnesses

Several mental illnesses, like depression or dementia, are, in the long run, hard to cure. By using robotic pets, there has been an increase in relaxation and lack of stress in the elderly people diagnosed with such illnesses.

They not only respond better to the caretakers, but they also are more active, more sociable, engaging in discussions and interaction with other fellow patients. The pets provide the necessary emotional support for the patient to take a step forward in a positive way.

Does not bring additional costs aside its acquisition

Once you buy the robotic pet, there are no other future costs. It will not require medicine, treatment, food or water to survive. With several types of robotic pets already on display, there are sure to be some affordable robot dogs or cats you can ‘adopt’ and bring into your family.

Is ideal for those who suffer from allergies, as it does not shed

Allergies are not something you can control fully. Some people are born that way; some acquire allergies in their lifetime.

Those who are allergic to animal fur, but still wish to have a pet, can now have their dream come true. They do not need to compromise anymore, as the robotic pets do not shed and have no real fur.

According to what model of robot you choose, they might have a synthetic coat over their mechanical body that imitates the way real fur looks like, on the one hand. On the other hand, if you prefer a more mechanical look to it, you can choose one that will satisfy your taste.

Does not need cleaning

As they do not eat and drink, they do not defecate. So you do not have to take them outside for them to do their business, nor do you need to clean after them while indoors.

They will not misbehave

Everyone who owns a real pet, be it dog or cat, has come face to face with the situation in which the pet misbehaved.

A friend came to visit you and your dog jumped up and down, barked and tried to bite your friend? Did your cat act aggressively, trying to scratch the one who wanted to pet it?

With the robot pets such misbehaviour does not exist. They are programmed to recognise you as their owner no matter what, their expressions and actions already installed in their memory. Or, if you are good at computers, you can also download and instal several other tricks for your robotic friend to perform.

In contrast to the benefits a robotic pet can have, there are a series of downsides that, for many, are just a deal breaker.

However, there are also undeniably drawbacks in terms of owning a robot pet:

It only has a limited set of actions and cannot respond to you directly

They already have programmed in their memory what type of actions trigger what effect. For example, a cat will only purr if you pet it on the back, while a dog will wag its tail only if you pet it on the head. If you do any other type of action and expect the robots to either purr or wag their tail, you are going be disappointed as they will not do anything.

It may break down unexpectedly

You never know when it might break down. Some products do need to recharge their ‘energy’, but others may use a more advanced and complex system that does not require batteries or recharging. If one of such products breaks down, the only way to repair it might be to send it back to its producer and have it replaced with a new one.

No walk

Robot pets do not need to be taken out for a walk. And while this might seem attractive at first, on the long run it is a major drawback. Walking your dog is highly beneficial to both yours and your dog’s health. You get to exercise, you have a way to meet new people, and you relax and avoid over-stressing while the dog gets his energy level down a notch while doing its ‘doggy business’. But with robotic pets, your healthy lifestyle might suffer.

Does not provide the emotional achievement of training or interacting with a real pet

Pets, no matter what type, have their own way to show their affection, to communicate and interact with you. Moreover, when you finally manage to train your dog or you receive your cat’s affection, you get a feeling of fulfilment, of serenity, of achievement.

When robot pets are concerned, there is no such feeling. They are already programmed to do certain things and to offer you their ‘unconditional love’. But at the end of the day, robots do not have feelings, and they cannot compensate for yours.

No emotions

A pet will feel sad when you leave it alone for too long and will be a cute, furry joy-ball when it sees you. There is no dog that will not wag its tail as soon as it sees its owner. It will do anything in its power to grab your attention in order to receive a few affectionate words or a pat on the head.

A robot pet, however, is another story. If left alone it will enter a standby state, in which it will try to imitate ‘sleep’. It might fall under the ‘cute’ category at first, but as the time passes, you might feel the need to be ‘asked’ for attention by your pet.

A robot is not capable of doing so while putting feelings and emotions into the act itself. Sure, it might emit certain sounds and noises to get your attention because its battery is running out, but it will never behave like a true, real, animal.

In conclusion, despite being a new trend, and despite having their own benefits, robot pets still have a very long road ahead before there is any chance for them to replace a breathing, loving cat or dog.

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On Saturday January 2, the family of Caoilte O Broin identified his body after it was pulled from the River Liffey.

Caoilte had attempted to take his life on several occasions prior to his death, and though he was receiving treatment, his mental health had deteriorated to such a point that his family were left in fear for their own lives.

He experienced "extreme psychosis" and would scream for hours, threatening to kill both himself and his family.

"Caoilte died needlessly due to systemic failures that let families all across this country down when someone is suffering from mental health issues," the O Broin family said in a statement on Facebook.

"Caoilte died from his mental illness. This could have been prevented."

Speaking to JOE.ie before his death, Caoilte's sister Catríona said that a 'dual diagnosis' was one of the biggest barriers to him receiving the treatment he needed.

A dual diagnosis is a term used when someone suffers from a substance abuse problem – drug or alcohol addiction – alongside their anxiety, depression or another mental health issue.

"We have tried to have him committed, again and again, but we keep being told that it comes down to the drinking, and that his mental health problems are considered separately," Catríona explained.

"My brother drinks because he is in pain. He is sick. He has no hope. He sees no other way."

On Thursday February 11, the O Broin family will hold a silent candlight vigil outside Dublin's Government Buildings to petition for better treatment of those using mental health services in Ireland.

"We are seeking legislative changes so that no other family will have to endure the suffering that Caoilte and his family have had to."

All details on Facebook here for anyone who wishes to attend or show their support.

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One woman has gotten a tattoo on her leg to start conversations about mental illness. 

To everyone who sees the tattoo it looks like "I'm fine", but from her point of view, it says "save me".

Bekah Miles explained in a Facebook post that she decided to get this tattoo after she was diagnosed with depression last year. 

She explained that she wanted to get this tattoo as she is now ready to have a conversation about her mental illness. 

"So today, I got this tattoo. I feel that my leg was the best place for the meaning behind it. When everyone else sees it, they see “I’m fine,” but from my viewpoint, it reads “save me.”

"To me, it means that others see this person that seems okay, but, in reality, is not okay at all. It reminds me that people who may appear happy, may be at battle with themselves."

(Dear mom and dad, please don’t kill me over this permanent choice. I want you to hear me out.)Today, I am coming out…

Posted by Bekah Miles on Sunday, August 23, 2015

"To me, depression is the days that I feel sad for no reason. 
Depression is the mornings that I don’t feel capable of getting out of bed.
Depression is the sleeping too much, or sleeping too little.
Depression is the homework that I never completed, simply because I didn’t feel like I was capable.
Depression is the break downs I have over absolutely nothing.
Depression is the eating too much, or eating too little.
Depression is the nights I begin to cry because I feel so overwhelmed, even though everything is going right. 
Depression is the 50 pounds I carry in my chest at all times. 
Depression is the need to constantly be distracted (being on social media, playing video games, watching movies or shows, or working all the time) because I can’t trust myself with my thoughts for longer than 3 minutes. 
Depression is the friendships that have suffered because of my inability to function. 
Depression is the hurtful thoughts and actions I have towards myself. 
Depression is the tears I have because I don’t know why I feel so worthless, when I know I should feel happy."

This Facebook post has gone viral with over 290,000 shares and over 340,000 likes on Facebook. 

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