NUI Galway researchers issue call to families living with mental health difficulties to aid them in their work

NUI Galway researchers issue call to families living with mental health difficulties to aid them in their work-image

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Researchers seek to document the social, emotional and behavioural well-being of children and young people living with a parent with a mental health difficulty A significant number of children are currently living with a parent with a mental health difficulty. These children are thought to be at an increased risk of developing emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties. Estimates suggest that 40-60% of these children may be at increased risk, with 25-50% of those likely to experience a psychological disorder in childhood, adolescence and/or adulthood. Who is it aimed at and why? This research is aimed primarily at children between the ages of 7-17 years who live with a parent with a diagnosed mental health difficulty. Parents and practitioners supporting the children will also be invited to contribute. By and large the voice of the child, their social, emotional and behavioural well-being, remains absent from research in this context. What is known about children's experiences is largely based on the contributions of adults speaking on their behalf via adult centered methods. However, research suggests discrepancies between what children say they want and need in this context and what parents and practitioners think they want or need. The research, approved by the Research Ethics Committee at NUI Galway, is being carried out under the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at the National University of Ireland, Galway. A core focus of the centre is in undertaking research in the area of family support and in focusing on prevention and early intervention for children who may be experiencing adversity making it a suitable environment for this research.  How will it work? The research will focus on children’s experiences of their own lives and will use a novel approach that will provide a framework to listen to them and treat them as experts in their own lives. The approach will give the children themselves the opportunity to express their views visually, symbolically and verbally. There will be a series of task and talk-centred activities including photography, artwork and mapping to combine with informal interviews. Children will be invited by the practitioner (e.g. mental health practitioner/social worker/general practitioner) involved with their parent to meet with the researcher on four separate occasions.  A choice of three locations will be offered: the family home, the workplace of the practitioner involved, or the child and family research centre in NUI Galway. It is up to the child and parent to decide whether they would like to meet with me alone or with someone. In light of sensitivities surrounding the research topic, the participation of all will be treated with the strictest of confidence. Consent from practitioners, parents and children, is a prerequisite to taking part in the project and will be under constant review. How will this help the children who participate? The direct benefit for children who choose to participate in the research is being given the space and freedom to express themselves in a non-intrusive way. The children control what they choose to share and how they choose to share it. Having this control, and the creative ways through which their stories are to be told may have potential therapeutic benefits. However, it should be noted that this project is not in any way attempting to provide a therapeutic intervention to children and young people. Rather, it is anticipated that the benefits will be evidenced in how the overall findings can be used by practitioners and services in order to support children, improving service provision and in turn their lives. -ends-

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NUI Galway Academic Receives Prestigious International Award

NUI Galway Academic Receives Prestigious International Award-image

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Professor Ger Hurley, Professor of Electrical Engineering at NUI Galway, was presented with the prestigious Middlebrook Outstanding Technical Achievement Award at a ceremony in Denver, Colorado recently.  The award was established by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) in the US to honour innovators in the field of power electronics. Power electronics is an enabling technology in modern electrical systems from smart phones to smart grids and essential to renewable energy systems and automotive electronics. This award is dedicated to the memory of Dr R. David Middlebrook, Emeritus Professor, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California. Dr Middlebrook is regarded as one of the founders of the field of power electronics and developed analysis and other tools crucial to modern power electronics design. The award is presented to an individual who has given outstanding contributions to the technical field of power electronics. Professor Hurley received the 2013 award to acknowledge his pioneering contributions to high frequency magnetic design, modelling of magnetic components and analysis of planar magnetic devices for power electronic applications, work that formed the basis for charging platforms for smart phones. Professor Hurley graduated from University College Cork in 1974 and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976, and was awarded the Doctor of Engineering for his published work by the National University of Ireland in 2011. He worked in Canada prior to joining NUI Galway 1991. Professor Hurley has given keynote speeches and invited presentations on high frequency magnetics in the US, Europe, China and Australia. Professor Hurley is a co-author of Transformers and Inductors for Power Electronics, Theory, Design and Applications, published by Wiley earlier this year. He is a Fellow of Engineers Ireland and a Fellow of the IEEE. -Ends-

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Vendors in global marketplace to benefit from new channel enablement software upgrades

Vendors in global marketplace to benefit from new channel enablement software upgrades-image

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

NUI Galway Company Channel Mechanics updates popular channelIT platform to provide improved functionality and flexibility for vendors and distributors worldwide Channel Mechanics, the award-winning channel enablement company based at NUI Galway, has announced the new Release 8.0 of its channelIT platform, now available globally from the 12 September 2013. The new version supports vendors and distributors in the ever expanding global marketplace with additional languages and full multi-currency support, as well as other further functionality, including product rating images, improved reporting detail and a Reseller notes facility. “Our team has been working in and around channels for over 25 years.  Through our work with large vendors, including Motorola Solutions EMEA, we are continuing to uncover ways to add value to any company operating and selling through channel partners,” said Kenneth Fox, CTO at Channel Mechanics. “The Release 8.0 of channelIT offers vendors and distributors a host of new features that enables even better management of channel operations and provides resellers, wherever they are in the world, with an enhanced experience. These updates support international business and make it easier for our customers to operate in the growing global marketplace.” Other enhanced functionality from Release 8.0 of the channelIT platform includes: Product Rating Images – enabling Vendors or Distributors to indicate a price value through a rating system, without exposing the list price Reseller Portal Navigation enhancement – making the navigation experience more informed for the Reseller Bundle Breakout – allowing users to view all items in a VEV (Virtual Entitlement Voucher), so they can fully understand the VEV content, allowing for correct back end system updates Improved Reporting detail - enabling greater analysis of Reseller buying behaviour Reseller Notes facility – allowing better Reseller management and tracking captureIT details available for review – providing Reseller with complete visibility VEV reminder emails for Reseller – giving Reseller notification of the expiry of a VEV For more information, please visit www.channelmechanics.com -Ends-

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New Capacity Bill must Respect Human Rights Say Civil Society Organisations

New Capacity Bill must Respect Human Rights Say Civil Society Organisations-image

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

New legislation relating to decision-making ability is a welcome improvement on the current 140-year-old law governing capacity, but needs some improvements if it is to adequately protect people’s human rights, a working group of civil society organisations said today (Tuesday, 24 September). The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 published in July, is being debated at a public consultation held by the Department of Justice and Equality tomorrow, Thursday, 25 September. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy Centre, NUI Galway, said: “The Bill innovates by introducing ‘assisted decision-making agreements’ which allow people to choose others they trust to help them with making decisions. This is truly ground-breaking and the Government deserves credit for listening to the community and learning from emerging international trends.  “More clarifications will be needed to ensure that these agreements are open to anyone to make, legally binding, and must be respected by others so the Bill can transform lives and reach those who really need it”, continued Professor Quinn Fiona Crowley, Research and Legal Manager, Amnesty International Ireland, said: “This Bill contains some important amendments to the law on capacity which could really benefit people with mental health problems. However, it needs to be amended to clarify how this Bill will interact with the Mental Health Act 2001, so that there are no gaps in the human rights protection of people with mental health problems.” Paddy Connolly, CEO Inclusion Ireland said: “The Bill represents an important shift away from ‘best interests’ decision-making towards respect for the will and preferences of persons with disabilities, which is a great improvement. However the legislation must prioritise the provision of supports to help an individual make their own decisions, rather than using assessments of mental capacity as a basis for substitute decision-making, which removes decision-making power from the person with a disability.” Áine Hynes, Irish Mental Health Lawyers Association, said: “We have significant concerns about the scope of powers given to informal decision-makers under the Bill. While it is important to recognise the realities of decisions made on a daily basis by informal carers, the human rights of individuals must also be respected.” Eamon Timmins, Head of Advocacy, Age Action, said: “The law needs to be changed to restrict this kind of informal decision-making, provide safeguards where it does occur, and require that people are given the option of using assisted decision-making agreements instead.” Brian O’Donnell, CEO National Federation of Voluntary Bodies, said: “It is also crucial that the government provides a timeline for the reform of other areas of law affected by legal capacity but exempted from this Bill, for example, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 and the Juries Act 1976, among others.” A brief document outlining the group’s proposed reforms can be viewed at: http://nuigalway.ie/cdlp/documents/amendments_to_bill.pdf -Ends-

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NUI Galway Workshop on Cloud Computing Research

NUI Galway Workshop on Cloud Computing Research-image

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

NUI Galway will host the first Irish Chapter of the Association for Information Systems (IAIS) Workshop on Cloud Computing Research on Friday, 27 September. The workshop, entitled ‘Research and Practice in the Cloud: What is on the Horizon?’ is supported by IAIS, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre (Lero) and NUI Galway's Whitaker Institute, and is being jointly delivered by NUI Galway and the Cloud Computing Services Innovation Centre at Hewlett-Packard. ‘Research and Practice in the Cloud: What is on the Horizon?’ builds upon NUI Galway, Lero and Hewlett-Packard’s strengths in cloud computing, and will focus on the Irish national agenda for research on cloud computing, bringing together researchers and practitioners across the island of Ireland. NUI Galway’s research on cloud computing has been published in international outlets, and cloud computing has become a core part of a large SFI-funded research team at the University’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics. Dr Tom Acton, Lecturer with the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, and workshop organiser said: “We will be showcasing national research across a range of cloud-specific topics including cloud business models, value, cloud adoption, implementation, and leveraging the cloud for mobile applications. The workshop is a vehicle for capturing what is happening across the country, not only academic research on cloud, but also in terms of industry experiences with delegates attending from Avaya, SourceDogg, Dimension Data, Verizon 1, CloudStrong, Hewlett-Packard, and many more.” -Ends-

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NUI Galway Awarded Research funding of €400,000 for Agri-Food Projects

NUI Galway Awarded Research funding of €400,000 for Agri-Food Projects -image

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Two new projects, partnerships between NUI Galway and Teagasc have been funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) Research Stimulus Fund (RSF). The funding is part of grant awards in excess of €6 million for research projects being undertaken, on a collaborative basis, by researchers from Institutions across the island of Ireland, which was recently announced by Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The ‘Joint Ventures to Enhance the Demographic Profile and Socio-Economic Sustainability of Irish Farming’ (Join-to-Farm) project aims to explore how a broader range of joint farming ventures,  have potential to enhance the sustainability of Irish agriculture. These ventures help different stakeholders to work together. The project involves social scientists: Dr Áine Macken-Walsh, Project Leader, Teagasc; Dr Kevin Heanue, Teagasc; Dr Anne Byrne, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway; and Professor Michael Ward and Dr Olive McCarthy of UCC. The second project, ‘Understanding and Facilitating Farmers Adoption of Technologies’ (Agile-Tech), seeks to develop an understanding of how technology is used by farmers, in the first place, and then on an ongoing basis. The project involves social scientists: Dr Kevin Heanue, Project Leader, Teagasc; Dr Áine Macken-Walsh, Teagasc; Ann Lyons, Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI, Galway; Mary O’Reilly-de Brún, Centre for Participatory Strategies; and Tomás de Brún, Centre for Participatory Strategies. Dr Anne Byrne, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway, said: “Collaborative scholarship and innovative, inclusive research methodologies enhance not only our understanding of how complex ideas, practices and processes intersect, but crucially stack the odds in favour of good outcomes for those who are at the heart of the projects – farmers.” -Ends-

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Environmentalist Tony Juniper, speaking at the RIA, details the increasing financial cost of ignoring nature

Environmentalist Tony Juniper, speaking at the RIA, details the increasing financial cost of ignoring nature -image

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Royal Irish Academy (RIA) lecture jointly organised by NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, EPA and the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland. Environmentalist and author Tony Juniper, speaking at the Royal Irish Academy, has said that environmental protection is not a luxury that can be put to one side in recessionary times. In contrast, Tony Juniper argues that rather than the view that conservation and pollution controls stunt growth and competitiveness, the reverse is the case. Wealth and economic growth are utterly dependent on Nature’s essential services. Tony Juniper was speaking at the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), an event jointly organised by the Ryan Institute for Environmental Marine and Energy research at NUI Galway, the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland (ESAI). Nature’s key role in economic activity is often only apparent when it’s removed. The economic contribution of bees to commercial fruit pollination is only now fully understood as species of bees disappear. Fresh water, a fundamental need, can be sourced, in sufficient quantities by working with natural systems Tony Juniper argues. The replenishment and supply of clean freshwater can often be achieved at a lower cost than highly engineered approaches. Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute for Environment, Marine and Energy at NUI Galway says “The services that nature provides us, like clean water, clean air, fertile soil and food, are crucial for the well-being of humans and represent an astronomical economic value. Typically the loss of biodiversity costs about 3% of GDP which for the EU means about €450 billion - year after year after year. Tony Juniper is one of the most eloquent advocates of the need to tackle the inadequacy of existing economic thinking to tackle this problem.” Tony Juniper cites examples where Healthy Nature can also help control the spread of disease. A study looking into the outbreak of West Nile Virus in the United States in 2002 found that the uneven distribution of cases was linked to wild bird diversity. Where there were greater numbers of wild birds less people caught the disease. Mosquitos that spread the West Nile Virus nasty virus among people prefer to feed on the blood of birds. Where there are fewer birds, they turn to other animals to get a meal, including people. As Ireland works to recover from serious recession, Tony Juniper says it is critical to recognise the direct economic value that is provided by natural systems. Wetlands help reduce flood risk; woodlands absorb carbon dioxide; bees pollinate crops, green spaces improve health and beautiful places attract tourism. These examples and many other natural services make a massive contribution to the economies of places. Indeed for Ireland, it has been estimated that these ‘ecosystem services’ are worth €2.6 billion per year Despite the mounting evidence that protecting Nature is of huge economic value, it is still portrayed as a brake on short-term economic growth. Many people accept the idea that the depletion of natural resources, high greenhouse gas emissions and disappearing animals and plants are the acceptable price of progress. In his talk on 25th September, Tony Juniper challenges these views and demonstrates how healthy environments make vast contributions to economic growth. -Ends-

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Floating University Explores Marine Science in Galway

Floating University Explores Marine Science in Galway-image

Friday, 27 September 2013

Students from the floating university programme,  “Semester at Sea”, visited Galway last weekend on a collaborative marine science field-trip led by NUI Galway and the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART). Over 570 students from 20 different countries were aboard the MV Explorer which docked in Dublin on Friday. The vessel previously visited Galway in 2012 after a trans-Atlantic voyage in which marine science students from NUI Galway participated. The field-trip was led by NUI Galway oceanographer Dr Rachel Cave and investigated  submarine groundwater flow in County Clare and East Galway. According to Professor Rob Young, professor of marine biology and oceanography for Semester at Sea, and  professor of marine science at Coastal Carolina University, “Collaborative programmes such as the one between SMART/NUI Galway and Semester at Sea give students the opportunity to see ongoing research projects in action while promoting inter-cultural understanding.” “Through the SMART partnership programme, and the Marine Institute’s research vessel funding programme, Ireland has very much become a leader in practical offshore training in marine science and technology. Developing collaborative marine initiatives with international programmes such as “Semester at Sea” helps us to cement this” Dr Rachel Cave of the Earth and Ocean Science Department stated. This voyage marks the 50th Anniversary of the “Semester at Sea” programme which has trained over 60,000 students since its inception in 1963. The Autumn voyage will visit 13 countries including South Africa, Brazil and Cuba. Semester at Sea plans to return to Ireland in Summer and Autumn of 2014. ENDS

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International Civic and Social Innovation Leader to Address NUI Galway

International Civic and Social Innovation Leader to Address NUI Galway-image

Friday, 27 September 2013

NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative will host US entrepreneur and innovator, Sonal Shah for a keynote address on Thursday, 3 October. The event, which is open to the public, will take place from 11am-12.30pm in the Siobhan McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building on campus. Sonal has worked in government, business and the non-profit sectors. Until recently she was the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the first White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation focused on investing in and scaling innovative models, leveraging technology, opening information in the social sector to solve some of the nation’s toughest challenges. Before joining the White House, Sonal led Google’s global development initiatives for its philanthropy, Google.org, focusing on leveraging technology and information to help the world’s poor. Prior to Google, she was a Vice-President at Goldman Sachs, Inc. where she worked with the Chairman and CEO in developing and managing the firm’s environmental strategy. Sonal also has started and managed non-profits. She is the co-founder of an international non-profit, Indicorps, which offers fellowships for the Indian diaspora around the world to work on development projects in India. The fellowship invests in and builds the leadership of the diaspora to be able to solve problems even in the toughest of circumstances. Shah also helped set up the Center for Global Development, the leading development think tank in Washington DC, where she managed the daily operations and developed the policy and advocacy programs for the Center. Lorraine McIlrath, Community Knowledge Initiative, says, “NUI Galway and the CKI are delighted to host Sonal and learn from her vast experiences of social innovation. Sonal has been an inspiration through her role with the Obama Administration and through private enterprises such as Google and will offer a fantastic opportunity for us to grapple with innovation in times of crisis. The Community Knowledge Initiative is committed to fostering community-university partnerships that aim to promote the principles and practices of civic engagement and democracy. Engaging with Sonal will strengthen our work.” As part of this address, Sonal will talk about her pathway into a career in social innovation, what social innovation means to her and how to imbue within young people a sense of themselves as civic and social innovators. For further information see http://www.nuigalway.ie/cki or contact Lorraine McIlrath Lorraine.mcilrath@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-   

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1/5 of Irish parents have used the internet to search for mental health information to help children in the last month

1/5 of Irish parents have used the internet to search for mental health information to help children in the last month-image

Friday, 27 September 2013

Minister Fitzgerald launches conference and highlights benefits of new technologies The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, yesterday (Thursday, 26 September) opened the Technology for Well-Being International Conference, which examines the role of technology in supporting young people’s mental health and well-being. New research launched at the conference revealed thatover two thirds of Irish parents (70%) would look for help on the internet if their child was going through a tough time. In addition, over one fifth (22%) of parents used the internet to search for mental health information in the past month alone. ReachOut.com, which provides online support for young people’s mental health and well-being, partnered with the National Office for Suicide Prevention to host this international conference attended by delegates from the health, education and technology sectors. These findings are from the ‘Bridging the Digital Disconnect’ research carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway and Inspire Ireland, the organisation behind ReachOut.com. The research project is part-funded by the Australian Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre and explores parents’ views on using technology to promote young people’s mental health. “This is the first study to be carried out in Ireland on parents’ views concerning the use of technologies to support young people’s mental health.  The findings will be used to inform the development of a resource to bridge the digital gap between parents and young people and to support parents in harnessing the potential of technologies for promoting young people’s mental health and wellbeing” says Professor Margaret Barry, principal investigator of the study with Dr Aleisha Clarke of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway. Speaking at the conference today, Minister Fitzgerald welcomed the new research and commended ReachOut.com and the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway on their work which she said “aides a better understanding on the role of parent and technology in youth mental.” The Minister added: “Too often media discourse on new technologies and social media focuses on negative aspects such as cyber-bullying and other online threat. But we must also focus on the opportunities which websites, such as ReachOut.com, offer in terms of providing an accessible portal to young people on key issues such as positive mental health.” As part of the fieldwork, parents reviewed the ReachOut.com site and expressed a desire for the development of a website with similar content for parents. Parents also repeatedly spoke about the need for information on the use of social networking sites and issues around young people’s safety and well-being online. Speaking about the results, ReachOut.com CEO Elaine Geraghty said: “We really welcome this research as an endorsement from parents of the importance of technology in all of our lives. If we’re serious about supporting young people we need to be where they are, providing mental health information in the first place they look for it, which is online. That is what we do every day at ReachOut.com.” Gerry Raleigh, Director of the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP), said: “The National Office for Suicide Prevention is delighted to support this conference and recognises the importance of technology to connect with those experiencing tough times. NOSP will continue to invest in partners who deliver safe and evidence-based information and supports that contributes to positive mental health and well-being. In addition to providing online resources such as Yourmentalhealth.ie and Letsomeoneknow.ie, NOSP has invested in various online projects and initiatives including ReachOut.com.” The ReachOut.com Technology for Well-Being International Conference addressed these concerns in order to open a national conversation on the positive role technology can play for both parents and young people, in supporting mental health.” To view the report click: Bridging the digital disconnect Ends

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