Nua Healthcare has always supported people with mental health needs. Ever since we opened up our first services back in 2004 many of the people we support have presented with not only an intellectual disability and complex needs but also with some mental health needs. This is entirely to be expected given that mental health conditions are prevalent across all parts of society. Approximately 2 years Nua took the decision to specialise in the provision of mental health services and we did so for a number of different reasons. We believed, for example, that there is a need to improve the quality of mental health services across Ireland. We also believed that there are significant gaps in services and that Nua is well placed to address some of those gaps in service provision. It was for these reasons that we developed and opened up our first Specialist Rehabilitation Unit (Approved Centre) in June 2018. ‘Cois Dalua’ is now fully occupied and with demand for that service being so high we are in the process of extending the service by a further 8 beds. In doing so we will be helping to improve the lives of people who might otherwise have remained in alternative settings that don’t as effectively meet their needs, goals and aspirations.
As well as operating our Approved Centre we also wanted to develop a specialist mental health ‘care pathway’ within Nua. This is important to both Nua and to the people we support as having a care pathway allows people to access different types of services depending on their individual needs. In short we want to give people the chance to succeed and to enjoy positive mental health and wellbeing in settings that are right for them. A practical way in which we will be doing this is by opening up ‘Mental Health Community Residences’. These services will cater for people with mental health needs who don’t need Approved Centre type care but who do still need a high level of support. Our first Mental Health Community Residence will be called Teach Folláine (which means ‘House of Wellbeing’) and is due to open within the next few weeks in County Kildare. Like our Approved Centre, this service will fall under the Mental Health Commission (MHC) inspectorate as opposed to HIQA. The Community Residence will be someone’s home for as long as they need it to be and there’s no limit on the amount of time someone can stay there for.
Anyone’s journey through life can be challenging irrespective of whether a person has an intellectual disability, autism or mental health needs. We’re all human and at times life can be tough! For people that have experienced significant mental health needs we call their journey of wellbeing their ‘recovery’. Sometimes this expression can be misunderstood as people sometimes think that ‘recovery’ means an individual gets ‘fixed’ and no longer has mental health needs or requires services. This isn’t really what ‘recovery’ is all about within mental health services. It really just means that a person is on a journey which is a very personal journey to them. For some people, dealing with mental health needs will always be a challenge. ‘Recovery’ for some people could simply mean that they don’t regress. For others it might mean that they feel more in control of their mental wellbeing over time. In short, it’s a really personal, individual matter and one that’s ultimately about supporting people to lead a fulfilling life.
I hope that the information I’ve provided about Nua’s mental health services is interesting and helpful to you. I also hope that it helps to explain why Nua’s mental health services are so important alongside all of the other services that Nua provides. I personally think that it’s great to work for an organisation that is able to support people with a diverse range of needs but in a joined up, quality focused way.