Monday 24 Sep 2018
The European Parliament has recently adopted the report ‘Pathways for the reintegration of workers recovering from injury and illness into quality employment‘. The report includes the first explicit endorsement of the Dying to Work campaign and a call on the Commission to address the lack of data concerning terminally ill people in the workplace. Specifically:
- Recognises that people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness retain the fundamental right to work; further recognises that these individuals face a unique set of challenges relating to their employment, distinct from the challenges facing other patient groups, as there is often little time for them to adapt to their changing conditions and for workplace adjustments to be made; commends initiatives such as the Dying to Work campaign for raising awareness about this specific set of problems; encourages employers to maintain as much dialogue as possible with employees who have received a terminal diagnosis, to ensure that all necessary and possible adaptations can be made to allow the employee to carry on working if he or she so wishes; is of the opinion that, for many patient, remaining in the workplace is a personal, psychological or economic imperative and central to his or her dignity and quality of life; urges the Member States to support the reasonable adaptation of workplaces to the unique set of challenges facing this group of people; calls on the Commission to tackle the lack of data on the employment status of people with cancer and to support the collection of better data, comparable across Member States, in order to improve support services for them;
The full report can be found here.
This is a first formal recognition of the work of the EU campaigns and a hugely positive step forward in highlighting this important set of issues.
The Dying to Work campaign would like to see terminal illness recognised as a ‘protected characteristic’ so that an employee with a terminal illness would enjoy a ‘protected period’ where they could not be dismissed as a result of their condition.
Such protection would give every person battling terminal conditions the choice of how to spend their final months and the peace of mind to know their job was protected and the future
financial security of their family was guaranteed.
Potential effects of losing your job following a terminal diagnosis:
- Reduced income and loss of financial security.
- Loss of stimulation, dignity and normality associated with being in employment.
- Undergoing an inevitably stressful and upsetting HR procedure.
- Loss of ‘Death in Service’ and ‘Life Assurance’ payments to family members and loved ones.
To find out more about this issue please go to: https://www.dyingtoworkeu.org/
Thursday 13 Sep 2018
Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, expressed disappointment with the outcome of the 12th September vote on copyright rules in the European Parliament, where a number of proposals to reconcile the interests of creators with those of the online world were rejected.
Ms. Childers was the co-sponsor of a number of cross-party proposals which attempted to bridge that gap, particularly by simplifying licensing and facilitating the enforcement of publishers’ rights but without hindering the right of others to share summary snippets.
These also included provisions to prevent the systematic use of upload filters online while ensuring that large platforms that share video and music also share revenue with rightholders.
Speaking from Strasbourg after the vote, Ms. Childers said:
“I have had serious doubts about the implications of this copyright proposal for the online environment and for the freedoms individual users enjoy and that is why I voted to block it before summer.
“Unfortunately, even the attempts we made since to safeguard rightholders without causing widespread damage to the interests of individual users were rejected by a majority.
“As adopted in Parliament today, draconian provisions on liability for copyright infringement by individual users will force most platforms to preventively apply uploading filters so as not to fall afoul of the law.
“Likewise, this proposal fails to give users and platforms the legal certainty they need in order to quote and share snippets of news.
“I fully appreciate and support all creators’ right to remuneration for their work, but similar attempts in national jurisdictions have failed to make them better off.
“It is now the turn of EU national governments to have their equal say on this proposal. I hope they will revisit these issues and listen to the many academics and internet experts who oppose it, as I cannot support it in its current form.
Friday 31 Aug 2018
I am delighted to announce that I will be hosting a conference with the Irish Council for Psychotherapy (ICP) in Dublin on the 12th October 2018.
This conference will explore the issue of borders & boundaries and how they impact our mental health. The themes of the seminar will include:
- Brexit: how has it impacted on identity and belonging?
- Economic & Social boundaries which ensure the welfare of some and not others
- Sexual boundaries and how they are being exploited
- Social Media and the boundary between reality & fantasy
Who should attend?
Anybody interested in mental health, politics, social justice, sexuality and social media.
What can I expect from it?
Presentations and panel discussions from experts in their fields and a clear understanding of how psychotherapy can and does have an important role in helping society to understand the impact of borders & boundaries on mental health. The event will also provide an opportunity for individuals to network.
9:15 – 9:45 Registration
9:45 – 10:15 Welcome
10:15-11:15 Brexit and Mental Health- Presentations and Panel Q&A
- Nessa Childers, Member of the European Parliament
- Pat Hunt, Vice Chair of the UK Council for Psychotherapy
- Barbara Fitzgerald, Psychotherapist and Chair of ICP’s Psychoanalytic Section
11:15 – 11:45 Tea / Coffee
11:45 – 12:45 Economic and Social Boundaries- Presentations and Panel Q&A
- Rory Hearne, Policy Analyst, Writer and Lecturer
- Cllr Gary Gannon, Social Democrat
- Gerry Myers, Psychotherapist and Lecturer
13:45 – 14:45 Sexual Boundaries- Presentations and Panel Q&A
- Julie Browne, Psychotherapist
- Brian Finnegan, Editor of GCN
- Dermod Moore, Psychotherapist and Psychosexual Trainer
14:45 – 15:45 Social Media Boundaries- Presentations and Panel Q&A
- Joanna Fortune, Psychotherapist and Sunday Times Columnist
- Mary McGill, Researcher, Writer and Lecturer
- Anne McCormack, Psychotherapist and Author
15:45 – 16:00 Closing Remarks
You can register through Eventbrite:
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The conference is funded by the Group of the Progressive alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
Friday 6 Jul 2018
Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, hailed the vote in the European Parliament to bring a new directive governing online copyright back to the drawing board, a success.
Ms. Childers had tabled amendments in the specific committee, in opposition to provisions known as the ‘link tax’ and the ‘internet filter’, and was one of the members who tabled the request to halt the current procedure and allow the proposal to be further amended.
Speaking from Strasbourg after the positive vote on that request, Ms. Childers said:
“We voted to put this draft law on hold and allow for further scrutiny and amendments rather than green-lighting it in its current form and taking it to the negotiating table with the Council of EU Member States.
“I am relieved to see that a majority of colleagues heeded the call of those of us who see great danger in arts. 11 and 13 for the internet as we know it.
“This piece of legislation has been the object of an extraordinary lobby battle on both sides, and, while I understand the legitimate demand that creators be properly remunerated for their work, this is a wrongheaded expedient.
“Big media conglomerates have been pushing for neighbouring rights of dubious benefit to the journalists who toil for them, at the expense of the ways we share information with each other online.
“Also, we would be effectively compelling online platforms to pre-emptively screen all user uploaded content on pain of being held liable for individuals’ copyrights infringements. Platforms would be forced to police and censor individual uploads and, if in doubt, block them to stay on the right side of the law.
“I have often been a lonely voice among Irish MEPs on matters that affect Big Tech’s bottom line, such as corporate taxation, but there is much more at stake here than the fact that major technology firms see the dangers in this proposal.
“That is why I took the advice of experts such as Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, and countless academics, and took a step to help reverse the course of this law.
“I hope we will now get the chance to turn it around after summer.”
Wednesday 30 May 2018
As co-chair of the European Parliament Mental Health Interest Group, Nessa Childers MEP welcomes a Call to Action for the Improvement of patient empowerment and self-management of care in mental health.
This Call to Action aims to highlight the urgent need to stimulate the empowerment of those affected by mental ill-health and to recognise the vital role persons affected by mental ill-health can play in the management of their treatment and care, in partnership with health professionals and other care providers.
The burden of mental ill-health is huge across the EU
It is increasingly recognised that the burden and prevalence of mental health conditions is huge: at least 27 % of the European (EU, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway) adult population experience mental disorders every year. The proportion of the national health budget devoted to mental health ranges between 4% to 13% across the EU. Mental health conditions account for 22% -25% of the EU burden of disability, with neurological and psychiatric disorders being among the third leading causes of disability-adjusted life-years in the WHO-Europe,. Social and economic inequality and exclusion are both a cause and a consequence of mental ill-health.
Mental ill-health can affect persons at any age in a variety of forms (e.g. depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD…). These conditions go hand in hand with substantial stigma, costs and consequences that impact individuals, families and carers, health and social systems, society and the economy.
Evidence shows that life expectancy can be reduced by mental disorders, sometimes with a greater impact than smoking or obesity. In particular, mental disorders can be the precursors to chronic diseases, consequences of them, or the result of interactive effects. In addition to a higher risk of physical illness such as coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes or respiratory disease, mental disorders (such as depression) often exacerbate unhealthy life styles including smoking, substance abuse, physical inactivity and insufficient sleep,.
On the other hand, poor physical health increases the risk of mental ill-health: the risk of depression is doubled for people with diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease and heart failure, and tripled in those with stroke, end-stage renal failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Children experiencing a serious or chronic illness are also twice as likely to develop emotional disorders.
 http://psychopathology.imedpub.com/empowering-people-with-mental-illness-within-health-services.php?aid=17223, http://psychopathology.imedpub.com/empowering-people-with-mental-illness-within-health-services.php?aid=17223, https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/CFA833CB8C1AA178CA257BF0001E7520/$File/servpri.pdf,http://www.ccomssantementalelillefrance.org/sites/ccoms.org/files/pdf/Empowerment%20and%20Mental%20Health%20in%20Community.pdf
 The ROAMER report states that this is up to 37% https://cordis.europa.eu/result/rcn/171328_en.html;
also see Wittchen et al 2011, European Neuropsychopharmacology reporting that over 38% of the European population will experience a mental health problems in any given year.