Donegal GP wants more support for those requiring dual diagnosis for mental health and addiction issues

Mental health seminar in Letterkenny

By Staff Reporter

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By Staff Reporter

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Donegal GP wants more support for those requiring dual diagnosis for mental health and addiction issues

Speakers at the De Exeter House health seminar on Friday night. From left, Marie McGowan, Valerie Farragher, Anegal Maguire, MD De Exeter House, Dr. James McDaid, Allison Devine and Andy McLaren in t

Calls for more support for those requiring dual diagnosis for mental health and addiction issues in Donegal has been made at a major seminar on the subject in Letterkenny.

Local GP and former Government minister, Dr James McDaid, was among the speakers attending an event called “Beyond Recovery” hosted by Termon-based treatment centre DeExeter House.

He said while much of his medical career focused on physical illness, he is now working with DeExeter House and its founder, psychologist Angela Maguire, as their medical advisor. He said the approach they have in dealing with dual diagnosis of addiction and mental health problems is one he “wished would be adopted” by the health services.

Dr McDaid said he would like to see funding for the effective treatment model he sees in action in the Termon centre rolled out further as “you can’t treat one without the other”.

The event was hosted by Mrs Maguire to celebrate five years in business in Termon and drew a crowd of over 100 people to the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Among the other guest speakers were Allision Devine who hit the headlines after being arrested in relation to an air rage incident while on her was to Donegal to get help for her alcohol issues. She outlined her background and what led to the events a number of months ago, and how she is now alcohol free and dealing positive from what was a traumatic episode in her life.

Former Scottish International footballer, Andy McLaren, said despite all the trappings of fame and fortune in his home country, a dark childhood secret of abuse led him to use drugs and alcohol “a crutch” until he met Angela Maguire 12 years ago. This meeting was to change his life for the better. He runs a charity to help other young people improve their self esteem through sport.

Marie McGowan gave an insight to the often demanding life of people who are carers for others with serious illness, and how respite in places like DeExeter provides “care for the carers” who save the Irish State millions in health with the work they do in their homes.

Founder of the “Life Wise” group for women with alcohol issues, Valerie Farragher, outlined how her seemingly normal life change radically when she began drinking to self medical from post-natal depression. After many failed attempts at recovery she is now sober after getting dual diagnosis help with her mental health and alcohol issue.

Mark Maguire, son of Angela, also outlined the difficulties he faced with drugs and alcohol and how his mother played a significant role in helping him recover.

Ms Maguire thanked all who came to the event. She outlined the work they do in DeExeter House and were buoyed by the success she has seen in those who have used their services in the last five years. She paid tribute to her mother Brigid for her support and also her late grandmother, Annie Ferry from Dunlewey.

After the speeches there was a lively question and answers session with the audience chaired by MC, Noel Cunningham.

For more information see www.deexter house.com