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Mental Health in Ireland

Unique new book providing an overview and critical analysis of developments in Irish mental health policy, practice and law from 1945 to the present day, in the context of key emerging theoretical concepts.

  • Written by leaders in the field, the book is presented in three distinct sections, which examine:

    • The context for mental health care and support in 21st-century Ireland

    • Emerging developments in mental health service delivery and law

    • The implications of current trends for mental health policy, practice and law in Ireland in the future.

  • Addresses key issues relating to recent changes in approaches to mental health care and implications for mental health practitioners, such as:
    • The shifting discourse around conceptions and treatment of mental distress

    • The move from expert-led care to recovery-orientated, partnership-based support

    • The challenge posed to service development by minority and marginalised groups

    • The changing interface between the legal and mental health care systems

    • The complexity of economic evaluation of mental health services

    • The paradox of mental health service provision in a risk-averse society.

  • Reviews the Mental Health Act 2001, the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Irish Government’s mental health policy, A Vision for Change.
  • Presents an invaluable resource, based on recent academic and informally published literature, in the field of mental health in Ireland.

Written For:

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate students in mental health nursing, psychology, social work, occupational therapy and psychiatry

  • Also suitable for students of medicine, social policy, disability studies, speech and language therapy and anyone with an interest in mental health


Overall this book is an excellent, indispensable resource which is based on current academic and published literature. I would most definitely recommend [it] to both students and practitioners. [It] is an insightful read and a great contribution to Irish knowledge.

Brid Joy, The Irish Social Worker


3 Available



Publication Date

April 2014




Paperback, 314 pages

Country of Origin



Gill Education



Eddie Molloy


Ivor Browne

Contributors’ Profiles

Section 1: Context for Mental Health Service Delivery in 21st-century Ireland

1. Introduction: Struggle and contestation in the field of mental health

Agnes Higgins and Shari McDaid

2. Mental hospital institutionalisation and deinstitutionalisation in Ireland

Damien Brennan

3. Medicalisation and professionalisation of mental health service delivery

Líam Mac Gabhann

4. Shadow lives: Social exclusion of and discrimination against people with experience of mental or emotional distress 

Shari McDaid



234 x 157 mm


Edited by Agnes Higgins and Shari McDaid

Availability Status


Agnes Higgins, RPN, RGN, RNT, BNS, MSc, PhD, is a professor in Mental Health Nursing at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin.

Shari McDaid, BA, MA (SocSci), PhD, is director of the national coalition Mental Health Reform and has worked in social policy in Ireland for over ten years.

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