Listening Meetings

.In 2014, the Mental Health Division undertook an ambitious number of events where we wanted to hear the experiences of service users, family members and carers in using the mental health services. A Listening Meetings initiative was chosen as a way to do this with the meetings being facilitated by Paddy McGowan, then, interim Head of Service User, Family Member and Carer Engagement.

People were invited to the Listening Meetings through local radio, media advertisements consumer groups and panels and mental health voluntary groups. At the Listening Meetings, attendees were encouraged to speak freely and honestly about their positive and negative experiences of Mental Health Services.

This was one of the largest listening events held for people involved in mental health services in Ireland ever, with over one thousand attending. We are very grateful to all who made the effort and commitment to come to the meetings to air their views.


We recognised that there was often positive general acknowledgement of good work done by many staff within the services. This work included such features as advancing recovery, development of clinical programmes and the great and, sometimes unsung, efforts of the voluntary agencies. But it was not all “good news”. There was also a widespread recognition of the challenges and difficulties that remain to achieve that culture change which will embed recovery focused services.  Such services can only flourish where full service user, carer and family member involvement is adopted and implemented as a key component. The Mental Health Division recognises this in its Mental Health Strategic Priority 4: “(To) Ensure the views of service users, family members are central to the design and delivery of mental health services.“

What we heard at the meetings has informed the planning of our work during 2014, 2015 and into 2016 and is reflected in the Mental Health Division’s National and Community Health Organisation Operational Plans.

Listening Report

Listening Report

The wide range of personal opinions and views expressed at the Listening Meetings have been collated and developed into 10 key themes.

  • Developing Respectful and Empathetic Relationships
  • Service User and Family Carer Involvement
  • Challenging Societal Attitudes
  • Providing Continuity of Care and
  • Supporting People in their Recovery
  • Providing Specialist Services
  • Accessing Helpful Information
  • Peer Support 00
  • Providing the Full Range of Interventions
  • Access to Out of Hours Care
  • Avenues for Assessment and Admission

Where can I access the report?

You can access the report using the following link:

Or alternatively you can request a hardcopy through:

If I want more information on this report who can I go  to:

The Mental Health Engagement Office email:

If I want to speak to someone or ask a question about the report, please contact the HSE Infoline - 1850 24 1850

Useful links

Useful links where some of the views and opinions from the Listening Meetings have been taken onboard in the design and delivery of mental health services

For an example of the division increasing consistency on service provision, please see

For information on "Connecting for Life, Ireland's National Strategy to Reduce Suicide, 2015-2020" visit

Work is ongoing on improving the recovery focus of our services, and innovations such as Peer Support Workers, please see

For more information relating to HSE Mental Health issues please see 
This website contains links to work being done to promote positive mental health and reducing stigma

Also see

If you feel you want support or want to find out about services, including those near you please see