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Fri 21 Feb

Family Focused Practice: The Role of Mental Health Social Work

Registration 9.15am, Conference 10.00am - 4.00pm

St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, James’s Street, Dublin 8

€20 IASW members/€50 non-members


Social Workers in Adult Mental Health (SWAMH) invite submissions for presentations on social work led initiatives, case studies, interventions and groupwork in family focused mental health practice. Please download the call for submissions for further details. The event aims to showcase mental health social work practice with families and will also feature the launch of the SIG’s position paper on Family Focused Practice in Mental Health Social Work.

9.30am: Registration

10.00am: Event opening

10.15am: Family Focused Practice and Social Work Keynote

Mary Donaghy, Social Care Commissioning Lead and Regional Lead for Think Family Northern Ireland.

11.00am: The Implementation of Family Connections: Lessons for Social Work Practice

               Linda Curran, Social Work Team Leader, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.

11.40am: Coffee Break

11.55am:  Family Focused Practice in Action

  1. Pulling together to get towards safer waters, Ailis Ni Chartaigh, Maura Moore, Jennie Deering and Lynn Harnedy
  2. Pathways for the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder within a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, North Cork. Davina Reidy
  3. Family Focused Practice in Forensic Psychiatry - Therapeutic Jurisprudence Considerations, Aidan Cooney
  4. WRAP for families & carers, Jennie Moore and Sorcha Griffith, National Forensic Mental Health Service
  5. I got there in the end and met some inspirational people in my journey of self discovery, Cathy Heeley
  6. A social work led skills and support group for family, friends and supporters of those attending the North Dublin Adult Mental Health Service, Abi Orimolade

1pm:  Panel Discussion and ‘Q and A’  

1.15pm:  Lunch

1.45pm SWAMH AGM

2.15pm:  Growing up with a parent who has mental health difficulties. The PRIMERA project.

Mary G Killion and Christine Mulligan

2.45pm:  Social Work perspective in applying the work of TFNI using the Family Model in practice.  Barry Delargy, Social Work Development Lead - Think Family Northern Ireland

3.15 Launch of SWAMH Position Paper. Kerry Cuskelly and Jim Campbell

4.00pm: Close


Barry Delargy, Social Work Development Lead - Think Family

Barry Delargy has been a qualified Social Worker since 2010, beginning his social work career with the Lisburn Family Intervention Team (Fieldwork) in the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust (HSCT). Moving to Adult Mental Health in the Belfast Trust in 2012, Barry joined the Resettlement Team, supporting service users and carers living with severe and enduring mental illness. In this role, he became a Think Family Champion in 2014, working with Trust colleagues to enhance communication and collaborative working between Adult Mental Health and Family and Childcare services. Barry became an Approved Social Worker in 2017, also taking on the role of Designated Adult Protection Officer in respect of Adult Safeguarding.

In October 2018, Barry became the Social Work Development Lead for Think Family in the Belfast Trust, responsible for the promotion of the Champion Role and The Family Model across Mental Health services. 

Christine Mulligan,  Research Psychologist, Psychotherapist and PhD Scholar

Christine Mulligan completed her BA (Hons) degree in Psychology at Maynooth in 2017, achieving second in her class. Previously, she had trained as a psychotherapist and is currently the PhD Scholar on the PRIMERA research project (Centre for Mental Health and Community Research, Maynooth University), undertaking a process evaluation of the introduction of a family-focused preventative intervention (Family Talk) to address the impact of parental mental illness. Christine also has lived experience of growing up in a family where both parents had severe mental health and addiction challenges.

Mary Donaghy, Social Care Commissioning Lead, (mental health and learning disability) and Regional Lead for Think Family Northern Ireland

Mary Donaghy is a qualified Social Worker since 1983.  Over the past 35+ years, her experience has been in Family and Child Care (Residential & Fieldwork), Childrens Disability, and Child & Adolescent Mental Health. She now works in the Social Care Directorate of the Health & Social Care Board (HSCB) Northern Ireland

From 2009 – 2012, Mary was seconded as a Senior Manager from South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust to the HSCB to lead on the Regional  Think Child, Think Parent, Think Family Project across Adult Mental Health and Childrens Services. The Northern Ireland project was one of six National Projects under the direction of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).

Since 2012, Mary has continued working for the HSCB as Social Care Commissioning lead within Adult Mental Health and Learning Disability, and also continues as the Regional Lead for Think Family NI, as this has now become core business for the HSCB upon the project finishing in 2012.

Mary G Killion, Principal Social Galway Roscommon Adult Mental Health Services

Mary G Killion is employed as a Principal Social Worker in Galway/Roscommon Mental Health Services.  She has been promoting Family Focused Practice in Mental Health services since 2005 when she co-ordinated an Interagency Service Initiative established to address the impact of parental mental illness on parents and families – known as Crosslinx.  Mary G has established a similar service initiative in Galway/Roscommon - known as Crosslinx West – and is the Project Lead for the rollout of Family Talk in Galway/Roscommon.  She completed an M Litt with Trinity College Dublin in 2013 in relation to a Case Study of professionals’ involvement in a Family Focused Practice.  She has previously worked in CAMHS, Early Intervention services and Child Protection and Welfare services.

Linda Curran, Social Work Team Leader, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services

Linda Curran is a social work team leader in St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and vice chair of SWAMH. Linda has multiple years of experience in addiction, homelessness and working with vulnerable communities. Linda is especially interested in the area of addictions, dual diagnosis and family support. As part of a MSc in Healthcare Management, she completed a change project on the implementation of family connections within the hospital.


Ailis Ni Chartaigh is currently working in CAMHS Dublin North City & County. Ailis has a special interest in the area of attachment and family, in her work Ailis considers family as defined by emotional connection.

Aoife Reidy, Senior social worker in the national forensic mental health service. Qualified in 2012 with a masters in social work from NUI Galway which has a strong emphasis on human rights. Currently training to be a family therapist with the Clanwilliam Institute. Passionately working towards family/carer involvement being a key part of the Irish mental health services.

Abi Orimolade is a registered Senior Social Worker with HSE Dublin North Mental Health Service. She has a BA (Hons) in Applied Social Studies in Social Care from the Limerick Institute of Technology and a Master in Social Work from Trinity College, Dublin. Abi has been in Social Work practice for eight years. Her area of interest is in innovations in working with families. She was the co-ordinator of the Parent Plus/Working Things Out Programme in Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Cherry Orchard Hospital Campus, Dublin 10 from 2014-2017. She currently co-facilitates the Family & Friends Skills and Support group in Dublin North Community Mental health service.

Aidan Cooney  Senior Medical Social Worker in National Forensic Mental Health Services - Mental Health & Intellectual Development Disability team. Interest in Family Focused Mental Health Practice stems from work in Louth/Meath Mental Health services 2013-2018. I developed psychosocial interventions such as (1) Parenting Support and (2) Domestic Violence in Drogheda Department of Psychiatry 2015-2018. In 2017 set up an Inter-Disciplinary SiG and hosting inaugural FFMHP seminar with Dr Anne Grant QUB school of nursing in Drogheda Department of Psychiatry with speakers from Departments - Psychology, Psychotherapy, Social Work, Peer Support Workers, Occupational Therapy. In 2018 moved to Forensic Psychiatry MHIDD Service as a Senior Medical social worker.  I am conducting a cross-discipline survey on Family Focused Mental Health Practice - exploring themes such as family support, victim of crime and safeguarding adults. In 2019 introduced I introduced a hybrid family group conference as part of pillar of care 7 work in MHIDD service. I presented a paper today’s topic to UK Forensic Psychiatric Social Work in the University of London.

Cathy Heely, Senior Mental Health Social Worker and Family Therapist. I am based in Swords and work as part of a multidisciplinary team with a very young and diverse population. I graduated from Trinity College in 2003 and was offered a position as a basic grade mental health social worker which was has provided me with many challenges and opportunities over the years

Davina Reidy, Registered Social Worker, Accredited Play Therapist and Senior Clinical Supervisor in Creative Arts and Play has been working in Child & Adolescent Mental Health for over 7 years. Previously, Davina working in Child Protection in HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster.

Sonia Magaharan, Clinical Nurse Specialist who has worked within the area of Child & Adolescent Mental Health for 30 years. Sonia has gained experience both in Australia and the UK within this speciality. Sonia has a keen interest in the area of ADHD and Parenting work.