Growing Community Through Gardening

Cintra Allotment Project

Lucena Clinic Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service carry out research on staff’s experience of dealing with cyberbullying and online safety for children and young people

Technology has transformed our lives for the better but there are unique challenges associated with the internet particularly for children and adolescents who may be facing online hazards that they are not equipped to deal with and their carers may not be aware of.  In light of media reports of the destructiveoutcomes of cyberbullying and online harassment for young people’s mental health, a team of researchers at Lucena Clinic; Aoife Lonergan (Assistant Psychologist), Amy Moriarity (Trainee Clinical Psychologist, UCD), Prof. Fiona McNicholas (Consultant Psychiatrist), led by Principal Clinical Psychologist Triona Byrne,  recently conducted an online survey of Lucena clinic staff’s experience, practice and views on the issue of cyberbullying and the challenge of promoting internet safety for children. 

The literature suggests that young people and their families may not know how to stay safe on-line orto whom to report unsafe internet experience.The thinking behind the Lucena Clinic staff survey was that Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) staff may have a vital role in helping children to communicate about and learn from problematic internet experiences. However, little is known about staff experiences, training needs or their preferences for training resources about internet safety and cyberbullying.  The survey was launced on international internet safety day (February 11th 2014) and 90% of staff invited to particpaite gave their views. This resulted in a rich source of information and demonsrated that it was a relevent topic to study and address. 

Preliminary results indicate that cyberbullying is a common problem raised by children and teens attending the Lucena service. The majority of staff surveyed are concerned and willing to develop plans of care for the child and family that will promtote internet safety.  All the staff who completed the survey requested further training to equip them to be more knowledgeable  about ways to promote internet safety for children and  address cyberbullying.Staff expressed a strong preference for information/ resource packs to adviseand guide both caregivers and young people on internet safety and cyberbullying.

The preliminary findings of this study suggest that addressing cyberbullying and child internet safety should be a priority in CAMHS. Supporting and training CAMHS professionals to discuss internet safety with youngpeople or caregivers may be an opportunity to contribute to patient safety and wellbeing.  The next steps for the researchers is to analyse all the survey responses and feedback the results to staff with recommendations for design of a staff training module that also provides resources for children and carers.   

Conor Dail crop

Conor Coffey of Carmona Services who shadowed Deputy Simon Harris (right) at Dail Eireann was also welcomed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Conor's Job Coach is Amy McPartland and he was supported on the day by volunteer Anne Marie Walsh

A month on from Job Shadow Day 2014, one of our participants, Conor Coffey recalled his job seeker success story.  He says: ‘In 2013 I did my Job Shadow Day in the Port House in Dundrum.  I shadowed the manager Hubert around the restaurant.  I enjoyed it very much.  I then got 6 weeks’ work-experience.  Then Hubert had a meeting with me and my job coach Amy McPartland and offered me the job.  I was very happy.” 

This year, as well as being interviewed on television for National Supported Employment Week, Conor shadowed Simon Harris TD and also met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Sinead Kennedy who is Support Employment Supervisor at Carmona Services  also took part in the television interview. She added: “The determination of our job seekers, a strong commitment to equal opportuntities from employers and support from job coaches makes for a very strong partnership. All those elements were present when Conor took part in Job Shadow Day 2013. One of our other Job Seekers, Stephen Stuart had paved the way in 2013 by getting paid employment so the relationship with the employer was already established.  The results have been fantastic.“


Feast Day of Saint Benedict Menni 24th April

Benedict Menni (1841-1914) devoted his life to supporting the vulnerable and marginalised, in particular promoting more compassionate treatment for those with mental health problems.

From a wealthy Milanese family, he was the fifth of 15 children. In 1859, at the battle of Magenta, he volunteered to help transport the wounded from Milan railway station to the nearby hospital. This brought him into contact with the Hospitallers who inspired him so much that he entered their novitiate in1860. Four years later he made his solemn profession of vows, taking the name of Benedict. His reputation grew and after his ordination in 1866, he was commissioned by Pope Pius IX to re-found the Order in Spain where it had been banned since 1836 due to anti-clericism.

In 1867 Benedict succeeded in opening the first children’s hospital and refuge in Spain in the city of Barcelona and was appointed Superior of the Order in Spain in 1872. He moved to Marseille but soon returned to Spain to help victims of the Third Carlist War (1872-76) in the Basque provinces. Eventually Benedict managed to get funds for a building at Ciempozuelos, 20 miles outside Madrid where he founded a psychiatric hospital which would revolutionise the treatment of mentally ill patients in Spain.

Benedict insisted on a holistic approach and also recognised the importance of bringing women into his work. In 1881 he founded the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. With the help of the Sisters, Benedict founded 17 psychiatric hospitals in Spain. Today his Sisters are working in 24 countries. He was canonised in 1999. Saint John of God Menni Services in Dublin is named in his honour.


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