Health and Social Services Minister Lesley Griffiths AM to celebrate World Mental Health Day with Hafal on Tuesday October 11th 2011

Health and Social Services Minister Lesley Griffiths AM will celebrate World Mental Health Day with Members, staff and partners of the Welsh mental health charity Hafal in the Oriel Gallery of the Senedd on Tuesday October 11th.

The event, which begins at mid-day, will highlight two of Hafal’s 2011 successes:

• It will provide feedback from “Taking the Wheel”, the hugely successful client-led campaign which Hafal has been supporting in partnership with MDF the Bipolar Organisation Cymru and the Mental Health Foundation. The campaign has empowered mental health service users to take control of their lives and the services they receive.

• The expansion of our Expert Patient Trainer Programme following a Volunteering in Wales grant from the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Health and Social Services Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “World Mental Health Day is such an important and positive event. It promotes open discussion and helps to raise global awareness, recognise the impact of Mental Health and also to address stigma and discrimination.

“‘Taking the Wheel’ acts as an excellent metaphor for the recovery approach in mental health – something which I strongly support – where people, working with professionals, can take control and drive improvements to benefit their mental health, and be directly involved in their care and treatment. This is in line with our commitment to use the legislative powers of the Mental Health Measure. From next year, this will mean mental health support services will be available within primary care in all local authority areas, and service users will benefit from integrated and individual care and treatment plans.”

“Taking the Wheel”, which ran from May until September, engaged people receiving secondary mental health services or who have serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other diagnoses which typically require high levels of care to: Take the driving seat in managing their own recovery from serious mental illness; make use of their new rights under the Mental Health (Wales) Measure; make choices about the care and treatment they receive – and who provides them; develop and manage services themselves; and engage with the providers of mental health services so that they can get involved in planning and commissioning mental health services.

A four page report on the campaign, “What Users Want!” will be presented to visitors to the event. It states that the clear message emerging from the campaign is that service users want help across a wide range of Care Planning areas.

Significantly, service users view the Care and Treatment Plan as the means of ensuring that mental health services are shaped by patients’ needs. Expert Patient Trainer Dave Smith explained: “I’ve spoken to a lot of fellow service users during the campaign and the consensus is that we don’t expect vast new resources for mental health services. We know that this isn’t going to happen anyway. But we do want client-centred services. And we’re agreed that this can be can be done concretely by using Part 2 of the Measure which concerns care planning.

“Service users want individual Care and Treatment Plans which meet the three principles set out in the Interim CPA Guidance. But it’s not good enough to make these Plans fit the services provided. It should be the other way around. When all clients have a quality Care and Treatment Plan, planners of mental health services should move towards a position where Plans are analysed collectively and all commissioning of secondary mental health services is based on the needs identified. In other words, all services should be based on what’s in the Plans, not the other way round. And there should be enough flexibility in the provision of services so that they can meet every individual’s needs.”

Commenting on the campaign National Policy Coordinator Peter Martin said: “The campaign’s classic microbus and camper van rally simulator, which will both be at the Senedd for our World Mental Health Day celebrations, were a great hit with young and old alike at all the events which took place. There was great interest in the classic vehicle which spearheaded our campaign, but more importantly hundreds of service users engaged in a discussion about empowerment and came up with concrete ideas about how they can take control of their lives – and the services they receive.

“‘Taking the Wheel’ has shown that service users want recovery-focused services based on effective and holistic Care and Treatment Plans which they write themselves. Service users have also indicated very clearly that they want the whole process of providing secondary mental health services to be based upon the delivery of individual Care Plans.

“Service users now urge the Welsh Government to make this goal the central theme of the revised mental health strategy which they are currently writing. Service users also believe that there is a need for an independently-chaired national board (including service user and carer experts) through which the Welsh Government can develop policy and performance-manage delivery of the strategy.”

Hafal’s Expert Patient Trainers (EPTs) are people with experience of a serious mental illness who have become mental health trainers in order to share their insights into recovery with health professionals and fellow service users. In April Hafal launched its first group of 15 Comic-Relief funded Expert Patient Trainers who have been delivering a variety of training courses both internally and externally to clients including WAG and the DVLA.

In June Hafal won £21,029 from the WCVA to fund the recruitment of 44 volunteer trainers (the equivalent of two per local authority) to build upon our Expert Patient Trainer Programme and provide further training on important issues relating to serious mental illness to even more clients, staff and external recipients. The WCVA project will be formally launched at the Senedd on October 11th.