How we started

Initially named The Irish Mental Health Coalition, Mental Health Reform was founded in 2006. It began with five organisations; Shine, Bodywhys, Grow Mental Health, Irish Advocacy Network and Amnesty International. The coalition had three service providers, an advocacy organisation and a human rights organisation. Those pillars (service providers, advocacy and human rights) were present from the very beginning, and they were what was needed to move the coalition forward.

Ireland’s mental health policy A Vision for Change, was launched in 2006. The coalition was focused on holding the Government accountable in its delivery of that policy. Over the coming years, a strong membership was developed. That membership expanded to incorporate other organisations who had something to offer, particularly those that had strong grassroots involvement, so that we could hear the voices of mental health service users.

In February 2011, the Irish Mental Health Coalition was renamed Mental Health Reform (MHR). This marked the transition from a campaigning coalition operated as a project of Shine, to the establishment of a national support organisation for NGOs representing service users, families and community groups engaged in mental health.

Who we are

Today, Mental Health Reform is Ireland’s leading national coalition on mental health. Our vision is of an Ireland with accessible, effective and inclusive mental health services and supports. You can view our Strategic Plan here.

In line with this vision, we drive the progressive reform of mental health services and supports, through coordination and policy development, research and innovation, accountability and collective advocacy. With 81 member organisations and thousands of individual supporters, MHR provides a unified voice to Government, its agencies, the Oireachtas and the general public on mental health issues.

Learn more about us by clicking the links below;

What we do

  • Coordination & Policy Development:
    • We draw on the expertise and experience, and coordinate the views of our member organisations. 
    • We represent the sector in public forums.
    • We prepare policy submissions on behalf of our member organisations, informed by our Grassroots Forum and other advisory groups.
  • Research & Innovation:
    • We consult with people who use services and family members, reporting their experiences to Government and its agencies.
    • We conduct research to identify unmet needs and good practice solutions. 
    • We support and demonstrate innovation in the way that mental health supports are provided. 
    • We develop good practice guidelines and policy recommendations based on consultation and research.  
  • Accountability & Advocacy:
    • We monitor progress on Government commitments and hold the Government and its agencies to account for delivery.
    • We mobilise our membership and wider supporter network to make publicly visible the support for a better mental health system. 

Through coordination and policy development, research and innovation, accountability and collective advocacy we will have a demonstrable impact on the system of supports that fosters people's mental health in Ireland.

Our Vision

An Ireland with accessible, effective and inclusive mental health services and supports.

Our Mission

To be the unifying voice that leads progressive and wide reform towards human rights-based mental health services and supports in Ireland.

Our Values

  • Rights-based: We will consistently champion best international standards and human rights norms as the benchmark we aspire to and progressively deliver.
  • Collaboration: We will work as one with members, those with lived experience of mental health difficulties and other stakeholders on our shared goals to achieve our vision.
  • Inclusive: We will work constructively with all stakeholders with a particular emphasis on the active participation of those with lived experience of mental health difficulties and their family, friends, carers and supporters. MHR will strive, in particular, to listen to and include those voices that have previously not been heard.
  • Informed: We will root our recommendations in consultation with stakeholders and in international and national evidence of good practice
  • Progressive: We will identify and support new approaches across legislation, policy and services that ensure better mental health outcomes for all.

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