New Dublin Hearing Voices Group Started

A new self help group has been launched in Dublin for people who hear voices. You can read about it here…

We would like to inform you that on the 7th February 2013, we are launching a group in Dublin to support people who experience ‘voice hearing’. Voice hearing is a common human experience, which is often taken as a sign of severe mental illness. However, in the last twenty five years a new perspective emerged that sees voice hearing as a valid human experience. Research shows that up to 11% of people have voice hearing experiences at some point in their lives, and although for some it is a source of great distress, many people cope with the experience without ever needing the support of mental health services. The distress people experience when hearing voices is often compounded by social stigma and a medical response that traditionally has often offered little beyond medication, hospitalisation and day care centred activities. This approach centres on amelioration the symptoms of deep distress, rather than addressing the life experiences that underlie it.

During the second half of 2012, the Nursing Practice Development Unit of the HSE and the Irish Institute of Mental Health Nursing sponsored a training programme in facilitating voice hearer support groups in Dublin, Cork and Galway. Over seventy people from the public, private and voluntary sectors availed of the training. On foot of this training, we hope to launch the first Hearing Voices Support Group in Dublin group on February 7th 2013.
Peer support for confusing and distressing conditions is now widespread in our society in groups such as A.A. and GROW, for example. Voice hearing support groups have been in existence in other parts of the world for more than 25 years. In the UK, there are 190 voice hearer peer support groups and in Denmark, whose population is similar to ours, there are over 30 groups. This method is neither radical nor new. Voice hearing dialogue is a peer group activity that validates the experience and provides positive resolution to the distress.

We feel it is important that this initiative develops public support and acceptance. Voice hearing experiences often lead to very troubled states of heart and mind. Today we have an opportunity to re-evaluate “symptoms” such as voice hearing, as common responses to extreme stress and difficult life experiences. Voice hearing dialogue can be an effective and compassionate way to do this. We would greatly appreciate if you would support this new initiative.

The first Dublin group will be meeting weekly at 7:15 every Thursday at the Hill Street Family Resource Centre, Hill Street (off Parnell Street), Dublin 1. At the time of writing, there are two more voice hearing groups in the advanced stages of planning in the Dublin area, which will be located within the public health services. We would greatly appreciate if you would distribute notice about the group and its intended work in your organisation. Attached is a flyer with details about the group and our contact details. If you require any further information please contact me at 086-0268465 or monahanm@tcd.ie.

Mark Monahan
School of Nursing and Midwifery,
Trinity College Dublin,
24 D’Olier St.,
Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 1 8962496
email: monahanm@tcd.ie