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Psychology Department in Galway University Hospitals supporting World Mental Health Day

Tuesday 10 October is World Mental Health Day and the Psychology Department in Galway University Hospitals (GUH) is raising awareness of the role of Clinical/Counselling Psychology in supporting hospital patients who are managing illness and health conditions. 

The Psychology Department in GUH is an expanding department of eight Psychologists who provide clinical services to patients in areas such as Cancer Care, Long Covid, Memory, Paediatrics, Paediatric Diabetes, Bariatrics, Cystic Fibrosis and Migraine.

World Mental Health Day on 10 October offers a moment to reflect on how we look after our own mental health. The overall objective is to mobilise our collective efforts in support of better mental health for all. 

Dr Natalie Hession Principal Psychologist, Psycho-oncology/Cancer Services explains, “The theme of World Mental Health Day this year is “Mental health is a universal human right” and as clinical/counselling psychologists it is an excellent opportunity to bring awareness to and highlight mental health and wellbeing issues where we work, rest and play. It seemed quite apt that the Psychology Department in Galway University Hospital marks the day in order to highlight the importance of mental health for both patients and staff alike.”

As part of their work GUH Psychologists will assess patients’ emotional and cognitive functioning, to determine how they are coping and what their individual needs are. They can provide individual and group interventions to help patients with adjusting to living with a physical condition; processing the trauma of a diagnosis, coping with palliative care and engaging with health promoting behaviours.

Dr Mary Hynes Principal Psychologist Specialist (Obesity) said; “Clinical/Counselling Psychologists are trained to provide services across the lifespan and we offer a range of specialised assessments and interventions to support psychological wellbeing. This is hugely important in the context of hospital care.

“We know that the body and mind are fully inter-connected: when we are physically unwell or in pain our mental health is often affected; and when our psychological health is poor this often impacts our physical health. Unsurprisingly, the major benefits of psychological input in acute hospital settings are well-proven in international research.”

Clare Gormley, Director of Clinical Psychology, Galway/Roscommon explains about the expanding role of psychology in hospital care, “A large part of the role of Acute Hospital Psychology is to provide consultation and (formal and informal) education to hospital staff, allowing them to develop a better understanding of the psychological presentations and behaviours of their patients. Our role expands in national policy development, research and education.”

A patient using the service commented, “I have benefited hugely from the sessions…this therapy has benefitted me in many aspects of my life and continues to do so. Dealing with the fallout of early life trauma as well as the aftermath of a diagnosis has been easier with this direction of therapy. It is improving my personal relationships and my own self-awareness. My head space is getting better!”


More information

A hospital patient attending one of the services listed below can be referred to Psychology at GUH by a member of their hospital medical team.

You can find a number of resources on our webpage, including;

  •          A useful Guide to Psychological Supports and Resources.
  •          Videos on topics of Comfort Eating, Being a Parent, Chronic Pain and Health and Stress.
  •          Written educational resources

Go to:

The Psychology Department in GUH comprises of:

Director of Psychology Services GUH
Dr. Clare Gormley

Bariatric (Obesity clinic)
Dr. Mary Hynes
Dr. Sarah Summerville
Dr Grace O’Shea

Cystic Fibrosis
Dr. Joanne Byrne

Neurology/Migraine Service
Dr. Alison Byrne

Regional Specialist Memory Service
Dr. Diane O’Mahony

Paediatric (Children’s service)
Dr. Hazel Moore

Paediatric Diabetes/Endocrine
Dr. Elaine Keavey

Perinatal (Pregnancy and new parents)
Dr. Deirdre Finnegan

Neonatal (Infant development)
currently vacant

Psycho-oncology (Cancer service)
Dr. Natalie Hession

Long Covid service
Dr. Joanne Byrne


Photo caption: The Psychology Department in GUH supporting World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2023. From left: Dr Mary Hynes, Dr Hazel Moore, Dr Natalie Hession, Dr Joanne Byrne, Dr Sarah Summerville, Dr Diane O’Mahony, Dr Alison Byrne, Dr Elaine Keavey.


The article above is specific to the following Saolta hospitals:: 
University Hospital Galway (UHG)