My Voice Matters

My Voice Matters is a national consultation process to collect people’s experience of mental health services in Ireland, and the experience of their family members, friends and carers/ supporters. 

On March 13th, Mental Health Reform launched the findings of two national surveys into people’s experience of HSE mental health services. The My Voice Matters reports, launched by John Farrelly, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission, include a report on the experience of 1,188 service users and a report on the experience of 786 family members, friends and carers/supporters. The research was funded by the HSE.

The My Voice Matters reports show that people using mental health services and their families and
other supporters, are not yet routinely experiencing the modern, recovery-oriented mental health services envisaged in the national mental health policy A Vision for Change more than 13 years ago. 

Dr. Shari McDaid

Director, Mental Health Reform

The two surveys launched by Mental Health Reform today demonstrate that we still have some way to travel to ensure that the service user is at the heart of mental health care in Ireland. Ensuring that all people using mental health services are treated with dignity and respect must be a key focus for the country’s service providers.

John Farrelly

Chief Executive, Mental Health Commission

We continue to work towards achieving modern recovery orientated mental health services and we are confident that a number of our improvement initiatives are very much in line with what the participants have told us in this consultation.

Jim Ryan

Assistant National Director for Mental Health Operations, HSE

Ultimately, the Minister of State for Mental Health must ensure that the quality of mental health services improves in line with the recommendations in the My Voice Matters reports.

Dr. Shari McDaid

Director, Mental Health Reform

Key findings from the Service User report: 

  • 1,188 people participated in this report 
  • 41.6% of participants indicated that they had a poor experience of HSE Mental Health Services
  • 19.5% reported that they did not feel like they were treated with dignity and respect by Community Mental Health Services
  • 46.0% of participants were most dissatisfied with the therapeutic supports when in inpatient mental health services. 
  • One in six reported having had a change of psychiatrist ‘more than four times’ in the last two years.
  • Of the participants who had reported having gone to Emergency Departments to seek support for their mental health, 49.3% disagreed that they got the support they needed.
  • Six in 10 participants (60.3%) reported a high focus on medication as part of their treatment and care.
  • Two-thirds of participants (66.2%) reported they did not have a written recovery/ care plan developed with their mental health team.
  • Of those who did complain, 52.1% reported that ‘nothing had been done’ about their complaint.
  • 49.0% reported high levels of satisfaction with the mental health care received from a GP.

It is encouraging people are finding some aspects of the services satisfactory, particularly being referred
to talking therapies, having a key worker and the support received from their GP. However, many service users reported that they are not satisfied with the services they access, indicating that they do not feel listened to, nor do they feel treated with dignity and respect. Service users also reported a high focus on medication in their treatment.

Dr. Shari McDaid

Director, Mental Health Reform

Key findings from the Family Member, Friends and Carers/ Supporters report: 

  • 786 people participated in this report.
  • 66.5% reported being dissatisfied with the information and advice they received when the person they support first came into contact with the HSE.
  • 65.6% reported that they had not received information on what to do in a crisis.
  • 75.9% disagreed that the HSE Mental Health Services explained how to support the person in the long term. 
  • Eight in 10 people (81.8%) reported they had not been let know how to make a complaint about a HSE Mental Health Service. 
  • One in 10 people (10.7%) agreed that they had the opportunity to provide feedback to Mental Health Services to inform service improvement. 
  • 71.7% of participants were dissatisfied with the extent to which the HSE Mental Health Services had considered their support needs
  • Individual counselling was the most common support access by participants, with approximately one in four (26.6%) accessing it in the last two years.
  • 49.0% of participants disagreed that they ‘felt listened to by hospital staff’.
  • 55.7% of participants reported low levels of satisfaction with the quality of service received by the person they support. 
  • Six in every 10 (60.1%) reported low levels of satisfaction that the HSE Mental Health Services had provided the individual with supports that adequately targeted their needs. 

View the presentation slides from the launch which includes an overview of the My Voice Matters reports, key findings, and recommendations by clicking here

It is also very concerning that those who support someone with a mental health difficulty, including
family members and other supporters, reported high levels of dissatisfaction with the information provided to them by mental health services.

Dr. Shari McDaid

Director, Mental Health Reform

Photo gallery from the My Voice Matters launch

  • For further information about the My Voice Matters National Consultation please contact Dr. Pádraig Ó Féich:
  • For media enquiries about the My Voice Matters National Consultation please contact Ray Burke:

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