Category: Human Rights

International Tool Fair

We are so delighted to be asked to share a tool at the  XVII edition of the International Tool Fair would be in Ireland.  We are off to  Dunboyne Castle 🏰 from the 13th to the 17th of November 2023.Educators from the youth, adult, school and higher education sectors will exchange tools for learning to work on Mental Health. #itfxvii

Conference announcements and call for abstracts for Critical Voices Network Conference in UCC.

This year’s conference title is “CREATING SAFE SPACES IN MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEMS: CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES”. Although of course creating safe spaces is  particularly appropriate and relevant at this very moment, the title and theme was decided upon well before the corona virus outbreak. As you are no doubt aware, concerns continue to be expressed that mental health systems do not provide safe spaces for people in intense distress. Indeed, it is often the opposite, with people referring to experiences of de-humanisation, coercion and re-traumatisation. Acknowledging such concerns, the conference focuses on the importance of developing and providing safe spaces for people experiencing distress. The conference offers opportunities to examine:
• what we understand by safe spaces in mental health systems
• what makes it so difficult to offer safe spaces
• the increasing use of coercion and forced treatment to try and maintain people’s ‘safety’
• what safe spaces may look like and how these may be experienced by people in distress
• ways to support people in intense distress in spaces where they feel safe and respected
Please see below  the conference flyer and call for abstracts in the attached. We hope to see you again in November, and if not, then November 2021! We’ll keep you posted on developments. In the mean time, we look forward to abstracts in relation to the conference’s theme.
Please share with your own networks as appropriate. Thanks.
Lydia Sapouna and Harry Gijbels
Conference Organisers

AkiDwA has launched a report, Let’s Talk: Mental Health Experiences of Migrant Women.

Today, 30th January 2020, AkiDwA has launched our new report, Let’s Talk: Mental Health Experiences of Migrant Women. Report researcher and author, Anne Carpenter held focus group discussions and conversations with women in 2019, and the report captures the lived mental health experiences of women under the Refugee Resettlement Programme and women living in Direct Provision.

The research reveals that many migrant women struggle with the loss of agency and autonomy that comes with the asylum system and live in Ireland. The research found that migrant women experienced significant stressors that have serious implications for their mental health and psychological well-being, it found personal distress was experienced on a daily basis and was inseparable from social, political, and institutional processes Findings show that the women’s lives were characterised by stressors related to mainly three factors – practical challenges faced daily by migrant women, powerlessness and lack of agency and grief and loss. Migrant women face many stresses in their home countries, on their journeys to Ireland, and in their daily life on arrival. Speaking about the report Salome Mbugua, Head of Operations & Strategy at AkiDwA said “many migrant women in Ireland are struggling with their mental health resulting from the impact of immigration journey, the intersections between gender, migration and health. Quite often, this intersectionality is missed by policy makers and frontline services. This must be recognised when working with migrant women if we are to help them recover fully.”

The report also shows that despite the traumatic and stressful events which may occur, mental health problems are not an inevitable consequence, but instead, well-being is shaped by a complex balance of stress and resilience factors. Many women struggle with the loss of agency and autonomy that comes with the asylum system in Ireland. Further, the women must deal with the loss and grief of losing their families and countries. As women, many of our participants reported taking on the stress and concern of their families who they can also see to be struggling. Research participants expressed feeling of vulnerability and had this to say “It’s hard to speak up because if you speak up then you feel like you are vulnerable or you are weak that you don’t know what you are doing, like you are not a woman, like a woman should be able to handle everything. Being a mother, being a wife, being a friend and a supporter.”

The report identifies important structural and social factors which can improve mental health outcomes for migrant women and includes recommendations which will be useful for the work of public health professionals, the voluntary sector and policymakers.

The report was launched on 30th January at 10am at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission with a discussion on mental health. The event will included presentation of the key findings of the report by author, Anne Carpenter and panel discussions with representatives from Mental Health Reform, Cairde, National Women’s Council of Ireland and practising clinicians.

Lets Talk: Mental Health Experiences of Migrant Women (pdf)