Law and Mental Health Conference NUI Galway

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

NUI Galway will host a one day conference on the Law and Mental Health on Saturday, November 17. The conference, which runs from 9.30am to 4.30pm, will bring together a number of national and international experts to debate issues of relevance to those who work in the field of mental health and those who suffer from mental illness.

Recent reports have found that that up to 20% of suicides can be attributed to workplace bullying and there has been a recent surge in case law dealing with stress related injury at work. At the conference, Ursula Connolly of the Law Faculty at NUI Galway, will address the extent to which employers can be held liable when an employee suffers from mental ill-health due to conditions at work.

Shivaun Quinlivan, also of the Law Faculty at NUI Galway, will speak about a related workplace issue, that of discrimination and mental health and the extent to which equality legislation protects those with mental ill-health at work. Professor Phil Fennell, of Cardiff Law School will address how human rights instruments have influenced and shaped law and policy in this area.

Dr. Mary Keys, lecturer at the Law Faculty at NUI Galway and member of the Mental Health Commission, stressed the importance of such an event, arguing that "Mental health is an issue for every individual. Our mental wellbeing underpins society, both economically and socially. Despite this critical importance, the mechanisms are still not in place by government to provide the multi-disciplinary approach necessary to support mental health in Ireland. We cannot afford to delay on implementing strategies as set out in the Government's 2006 policy document 'A Vision for Change'. Delays and half-measures will have profound effects on all aspects of society."

The event has been organised with the support of the Health Service Executive and the Department of Health and Children. Dr. Jimmy Devins, Minister of State with special responsibility for Disability and Mental Health will open the conference, which will be chaired by Martin Rogan of the Health Service Executive with an opening address by Donncha O'Connell, Dean of Law, NUI Galway. Professor Gerard Quinn, a leading international expert in the field of disability law and a key figure in the drafting of the recently adopted UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, will act as rapporteur.

Further information and registration details are available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/law/mental_health_conference.html or by contacting Ms. Ursula Connolly, Law Faculty, NUI Galway (ursula.connolly@nuigalway.ie, telephone 091-493250).

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