Mental Health Associations – Local Presence
MHI is a membership based organisation and has over 40 affiliated MHAs located across Ireland. While they are autonomous, MHAs share the mission, vision and values of MHI and participate in projects organised at national level. The MHAs are run by local community volunteers; people with lived experience, families, friends, neighbours and mental health professionals. The MHA’s engage in mental health promotion and fundraising in their local communities and while differing in size and complexity, traditionally MHAs engage in befriending, social housing, social activities and individual grants to support the social inclusion of people with mental health difficulties. Through a newly formed National Convention of MHAs, the volunteers are being encouraged to update their approach, moving to a Recovery focus and the support of peer lead initiatives.
Area Development Officers – Promoting Mental Health: Supporting Local Action
Through the support of the network of Area Development Officers, the MHAs are guided in many areas of their activity such as developing their strategy and the efficient use of their budgets and resources. The Area Development Officers also engage in mental health promotion activities at regional and local levels. They deliver awareness raising initiatives and targeted education and training on a variety of mental health issues. The Area Development Officers work in partnership with statutory and voluntary organisations to develop mental health promotion initiatives locally. The Area Development Officers have the flexibility to adopt a local approach, working out of hours to engage fully with local communities.