On the eve of International Women’s Day, the National Women's Council in Ireland launched a new series of short films, Out Of Silence, specifically highlighting women’s mental health issues in Ireland.
Speaking to an audience at Dublin’s City Hall which included many of the delegates attending the 7th World Women’s Mental Health Congress, the films were launched by Minister for Mental Health Helen McEntee.
The Minister addressed the revelations in Tuam this week as “appalling”, calling the films “an important piece of work for not only bringing to the fore very real issues that need to be heard but humanising them”.
Ms McEntee highlighted women’s mental health needs as being different but of equal importance to men’s:
“It highlights the path to be taken to ensure that women’s mental health needs are recognised as different but equal," she said at the event in Dublin City Hall.
The films give voices to three courageous women on the little-known issue of perinatal depression, while also addressing the issues of domestic violence and eating disorders. Each woman offers a frank account of some of the key mental health concerns facing women in Ireland today; they also highlight the plight of ethnic minority groups within Ireland, via discussion with professionals from the Cairdé organisation.
The films include expert commentary from the likes of Professor Veronica O’Keane, who along with the valiant story of Beth Anne are bringing the unsung issue of perinatal depression to the table. “I wanted to not be pregnant anymore, or not be me anymore, or not be here anymore," Beth Anne tells us in the film.
Talking after the screening, mum of two Beth Anne said she will be looking to set up a support group and awareness platform for women with perinatal depression.
Considering that Ireland has the highest child suicide and self-harm rates for young women under 19 in Europe. Grace’s story is extremely poignant and important: “There is something very tragic about being 18 years old and dying.”
Calling on the Minister to develop a programme specific to women’s mental health, NCWI chair Frances Byrne told the assembled crowd she felt this was “a real moment of change.”
For further information on these important issues, go to www.NWCI.ie