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Fri 09 Mar

Young People, Mental Health & Mental Illness


Education and Research Centre, Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's X

€30 IASW members/€60 non-members

Time: 9:00am
Title: Young People, Mental Health & Mental Illness
Speakers: John Lonergan, Dr Bobby Smyth, Dr John Sharry, Alan Maddock, Leanne Turner & Orla Higgins, Lhara Mullins, Dr. Jean Morrissey,

Price €30 IASW members/€60 non-members

This full day interdisciplinary conference has been organised by Social Care Ireland and the Irish Association of Social Workers. Prices include lunch & refreshments. Full conference programme to follow shortly

Background & Context

There is increasing concern about the mental health of young people in Ireland, with reports of psychological distress, substance abuse and suicide among Irish youths common. Yet, while we know that many young people in Ireland are experiencing mental distress, recent reports indicate that young people in Ireland are also at increased risk of experiencing a co-morbid or dual mental health diagnosis.Moreover, the Irish Psychiatry College (2013) recommend training for all health and social care professionals in optimal approaches for detecting and responding to young people with mental health needs, as well as ensuring that all primary care services, CAMHS, specialist treatment services, use youth mental health assessment and intervention protocols.

John Lonergan the ex-governor of Mountjoy prison services will make the opening address at the conference.

The conference will be chaired by Conor Boksberger. Conor is a qualified social worker in practice for 7 years, and currently working as a Clinical Coordinator for Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health. He has been actively involved with the IASW since 2011, and currently serves on the Board of Directors. 

Dr Bobby Smyth

Title: “Adolescent substance use and mental health problems: disentangling the interconnections”

Biography:  Dr Bobby Smyth is a Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, who has acted as clinical lead across three adolescent addiction services in Dublin for over 13 years. He has also worked in UK & Australia. He is a Clinical Senior Lecturer with the Department of Public Health & Primary Care in Trinity College Dublin. He has been involved in research for 20 years and has published over 60 scientific papers in the field of addiction dealing with topics including treatment outcome, co-morbidities and gender differences. He has been a member of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs & Alcohol and was chair of the Treatment Subcommittee. He is co-author of the book Adolescents and Substance Use: The handbook for professionals working with young people.

Dr John Sharry

Title: “Positive understanding – a strengths-based approach to diagnosis in youth mental health”

Biography: Dr John Sharry is a social worker and family psychotherapist with over 25 years’ experience working in child and adolescent mental health. A best-selling author of  fourteen books  on parenting and positive psychology, John is also the co-developer of the Parents Plus Charity, Sliver Cloud Health and an adjunct senior lecturer in the school of psychology in  UCD.

Alan Maddock

Title: “Youth Mental Health in Ireland”

Biography: Alan Maddock (MSW) is currently a PhD scholar with the SPHeRE programme, who is completing his PhD in Psychology in Trinity College in 2018. Alan’s PhD will look at how mindfulness works. Alan has worked in Youth Mental Health for 2 years as a social worker, and for 3 years in homeless mental health prior to this. Alan is also a published academic author, who has lectured on the Masters in Social Work programmes in both University College Dublin and Trinity College on youth mental health.

Workshop 1

Leanne Turner & Orla Higgins

“Supporting young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties to practice distress tolerance skills to promote their well-being”

This workshop will share with those in attendance skills & techniques that we share with young people attending a CAMHS with significant levels of anxiety and depression.

Biography: Leanne has 17 years experience working in CAMHS as a social care leader. She is also an accredited family therapist with ICP. Orla has 15 years experience working in CAMHS as a social care leader. Her area of special interest is eating disorders.

Workshop 2

Lhara Mullins 

“Mental Health Promotion for Children and Young People”

This workshop will examine methods of supporting children and young people living with mental ill-health and attempt to challenge common misperceptions. Case studies will be used to assist participants to conceptualise tangible methods of intervention. While suicide prevention will further be exploredBiography: Lhara Mullins is a lecturer in Health Promotion in NUI Galway Ireland. Lhara co-ordinates year 1 of the BA Social Care Programme and is currently undertaking her PhD relating to older people and homecare. Lhara worked in community care with older people from 2006-2013. Lhara has an MA in Social Work and a keen interest in child protection and mental health promotion in children and young people. Lhara sits on the steering committee of Comhairle na nOg (youth council of Galway) and has experience with disadvantaged children in the community and as a board member for a community childcare initiative from 2007-2017.

Workshop 3

Dr. Jean Morrissey

"Working and understanding Eating Disorders from a Recovery Approach"

This workshop presents a holistic approach to the care treatment when working with the child/adolescent from an eating disorder. The workshop will examine the core knowledge and skills to identify, manage and engage therapeutically with people (child/adolescent) and their family affected by eating disorders. Emphasis is also placed on examining responses and attitudes towards people affected by eating disorders and how it impacts on building, maintain and sustaining a supportive working relationship in a therapeutic/helping context

Facilitator: Dr Jean Morrissey is a lecturer in mental health nursing at the School of Nursing & Midwifery Trinity College University of Dublin. She has worked for many years in mental health nursing and higher education in the UK and Hong Kong. She is an accredited psychotherapist and supervisor with the Irish Association Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP). Her areas of interest include adolescent mental health, self-harm and eating disorders, therapeutic engagement and clinical supervision.  She has published in the area of risk, recovery and self-harm and is currently co-editing a book on eating disorders from a recovery orientated approach.