“Public representatives and other professional advisers should make themselves aware of how best to respond when they encounter people with mental health issues in the course of their work”, according to Thomas Byrne, Fianna Fáil MEP candidate for Midlands North West.
Senator Byrne said, “It is deeply shocking the first time you hear a constituent in your office expressing suicidal thoughts. As public representatives we often get people coming to us who have serious mental health issues. It is very difficult. It is heartbreaking but we have to know best how we can respond”.
“My view is that all public representatives should acquaint themselves with how to handle this issue properly – not just from a public policy point of view in relation to mental health, but also in terms of the needs of the people you are dealing with on a one-to-one basis as a public representative.
“Other professional advisers – such as accountants, auctioneers or solicitors – may also be called on in the course of their work to provide advice to someone who may have mental health difficulties. We all have a role to play in our community. We all need to inform ourselves of how best to handle these unfortunate situations.
Senator Byrne made his comments after speaking at a public meeting on “Your mental health – a community approach” in Oranmore, county Galway. The meeting was organised by Fianna Fáil county council candidate, Martina Kinane. The other main speaker was Dr John Hillery, a leading Consultant Psychiatrist.