How we started

Initially named The Irish Mental Health Coalition, Mental Health Reform was founded in 2006. It began with five organisations; Shine, Bodywhys, Grow Mental Health, Irish Advocacy Network and Amnesty International. The coalition had three service providers, an advocacy organisation and a human rights organisation. Those pillars (service providers, advocacy and human rights) were present from the very beginning, and they were what was needed to move the coalition forward.

Ireland’s mental health policy A Vision for Change, was launched in 2006. The coalition was focused on holding the Government accountable in its delivery of that policy. Over the coming years, a strong membership was developed. That membership expanded to incorporate other organisations who had something to offer, particularly those that had strong grassroots involvement, so that we could hear the voices of mental health service users.

In February 2011, the Irish Mental Health Coalition was renamed Mental Health Reform (MHR). This marked the transition from a campaigning coalition operated as a project of Shine, to the establishment of a national support organisation for NGOs representing service users, families and community groups engaged in mental health.

Who we are

Today, Mental Health Reform is Ireland’s leading national coalition on mental health. Our vision is of an Ireland where everyone can access the support they need in their community, to achieve their best possible mental health. You can view our Strategic Plan here.

In line with this vision, we drive the progressive reform of mental health services and supports, through coordination and policy development, research and innovation, accountability and collective advocacy. With 81 member organisations and thousands of individual supporters, MHR provides a unified voice to Government, its agencies, the Oireachtas and the general public on mental health issues.

Learn more about us by clicking the links below;

What we do

  • Coordination & Policy Development:
    • We draw on the expertise and experience, and coordinate the views of our member organisations. 
    • We represent the sector in public forums.
    • We prepare policy submissions on behalf of our member organisations, informed by our Grassroots Forum and other advisory groups.
  • Research & Innovation:
    • We consult with people who use services and family members, reporting their experiences to Government and its agencies.
    • We conduct research to identify unmet needs and good practice solutions. 
    • We support and demonstrate innovation in the way that mental health supports are provided. 
    • We develop good practice guidelines and policy recommendations based on consultation and research.  
  • Accountability & Advocacy:
    • We monitor progress on Government commitments and hold the Government and its agencies to account for delivery.
    • We mobilise our membership and wider supporter network to make publicly visible the support for a better mental health system. 

Through coordination and policy development, research and innovation, accountability and collective advocacy we will have a demonstrable impact on the system of supports that fosters people's mental health in Ireland.

Our Vision

An Ireland where everyone can access the support they need in their community to achieve their best possible mental health.

Our Mission

To be the unifying voice that drives progressive reform of mental health services and supports in Ireland.

Our Values

  • Best international standards and human rights norms: We will consistently invoke best international standards and human rights norms as the benchmark we expect all parties to aspire to and progressively deliver.
  • Equitable access to high quality mental health services: We promote a model of health and social care where everyone has equal access to affordable, sustainable and high quality, primary care and recovery oriented mental health services.
  • Empowerment of individuals and mobilisation of local communities: We operate from a conviction that the views and active participation of the person who experiences mental health difficulties and their support networks are pivotal to achieving best outcomes and that integrated services at local community level constitute the best enabling context.
  • Independence and integrity: Our authority stems from our independence. We campaign with integrity demonstrating respect for all stakeholders and without fear or favour.
  • Focus on value-added activity: Our focus is on activity that adds distinctive value to the work of the members and avoids duplication of their efforts.
  • Financial stewardship: We will operate efficiently, making best use of the resources entrusted to us.
  • Accountability: We will be accountable for our effectiveness to our members via the Board with timely, accurate and comprehensive information.
  • Authoritative voice: We will root our recommendations in consultation with stakeholders and in international and national evidence of good practice.
  • Principled pragmatism: We will hold true to our principles while working towards pragmatic steps forward in reform of the mental health system.

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