Skip Page Header

Home > Alcohol Action Ireland conference on alcohol and mental health.

Mongan, Deirdre (2014) Alcohol Action Ireland conference on alcohol and mental health. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 48, Winter 2013 , p. 4.

PDF (Drugnet Ireland 48) - Published Version

Alcohol Action Ireland held a conference entitled 'Facing ‘The Fear’: alcohol and mental health in Ireland’ on 20 November 2013. The conference was opened by Minister Alex White, who confirmed the government’s commitment to introduce minimum unit pricing in 2014. Dr Bobby Smyth, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, stated that teenagers are drinking at an earlier age than in previous generations, and upon entry into adulthood most young people in Ireland are drinking in a harmful manner. He described the risks that this posed to young people’s brains and their ability to learn effective and proactive coping strategies.

Dr Bobby Smyth, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, speaking at the AAI conference

Professor Ella Arensman, director of research with the National Suicide Research Foundation, said that in 2012 the average daily number of self-harm presentations to hospital across the state was 33. Alcohol was involved in 38% of these presentations (42% in men, 36% in women). She said that alcohol is one of the factors contributing to high rates of self-harm among young people and adults because of the depressive effect of heavy drinking. She also recommended more active consultation and collaboration between mental health and addiction services in organising treatment for patients who presented with the dual diagnoses of psychiatric disorder and alcohol or drug abuse. 

Consultant psychiatrists Dr Conor Farren and Dr Philip McGarry also described the relationship between alcohol and mental health. This was followed by a discussion about the human cost of alcohol and the role of alcohol in suicide, particularly among young people. The speakers were Dr Claire Hayes, clinical director of Aware, Ireland’s depression support charity, Mr John Higgins, a Mayo father whose 19-year-old son, David, died by suicide in 2011, and Fr Pat Seaver, a Limerick priest who has supported families who have been bereaved by suicide and has voiced his concerns about the role of alcohol in these tragedies.
Videos of the presentations and panel discussions are available on the Alcohol Action Ireland website
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Issue Title
Issue 48, Winter 2013
January 2014
Page Range
p. 4
Health Research Board
Issue 48, Winter 2013
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)
Related URLs

Repository Staff Only: item control page