Let’s Get Physical! 2014 National Campaign to Launch in Cardiff Bay this Thursday

Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM willlaunch the mental health service user and carer-led campaign at the Pierhead onThursday 8th May

Let’s Get Physical!, a groundbreaking 2014 campaign led by mental health service users andcarers in Wales, will be officially launched at the Pierhead building inCardiff Bay this Thursday (8th May) by Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM. Theevent will be attended by service users and carers from across Wales as well asAMs, policy makers and health professionals. 

Let’s Get Physical! sets a challenge – both to service users andcarers, and to service providers and policy makers – to radically improve the physicalhealth of people with a mental illness and their carers. The campaign issupported by mental health charities Hafal, Bipolar UK and the Mental HealthFoundation; Diverse Cymru will help to ensure the campaign reaches out tominority and disadvantaged communities

During the launch event on Thursday guests will be able to:-

Learn more about Let’s Get Physical! and how they can get involved in the campaign

  • Watch live demos of how to make healthy fast food on a budget
  • Get a physical health check up from a qualified healthcare professional in the Mobile Health Centre
  • Have a go at Nia (Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that draws from martial arts and dance arts)
  • Get information, advice and guidance from Hafal, Bipolar UK, the Mental Health Foundation, Diverse Cymru and the National Centre for Mental Health
  • Network with service users, carers and professionals from across Wales.

Following a formal launch by Health Minister Mark Drakeford at 1pm guests will hear speeches from campaign supporters and the service user andcarer panel running the campaign:

Mental Health Service User andCarer Panel Members

  • Nigel Griffiths, service user and Chair of the Wales Advisory Panel for Bipolar UK
  • Liz Hails, fun-loving shepherdess, carer and campaigner for better mental health services
  • David Crepaz-Keay, former secondary mental health service user and Head of Empowerment and Social Inclusion, Mental Health Foundation

Assembly Members

  • Bethan Jenkins AM (Plaid Cymru)
  • Peter Black AM (Welsh Liberal Democrats)
  • Mark Isherwood AM (Welsh Conservatives)

Campaign Partners

  • Bill Walden-Jones, Chief Executive, Hafal
  • Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation
  • Suzanne Hudson, Chief Executive, Bipolar UK
  • Suzanne Duval, Director of Operations, Diverse Cymru.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM said: “One in four people willexperience mental illness in their lifetime, and we know that physical healthproblems can be much more common in those with such problems. It isimportant to address both the physical wellbeing and mental wellbeingneeds of people.

“Physicalactivity, including regular sporting activity or any exercise such asdancing or walking, has a positive effect on mental health as well as theirphysical health in people of all ages; similarly eating a health diet is reallyimportant. I am delighted to be able to launch the Let’s Get Physical! campaigntoday. I am particularly impressed bythe way Let’s Get Physical! is empowering service users to take control oftheir own physical health.  I will be following the success of the campaignthroughout the summer.

BillWalden-Jones, Chief Executive of Hafal, said: “Thiswill be a great fun event with loads of activities, but the message is aserious one. People with a serious mental illness have a life expectancy around17 years lower than the general population and this is mainly caused by preventablephysical health problems. As for carers – 80% have seen a negative impact ontheir physical health as a result of caring and many put this down to a lack ofpractical support. This is unacceptable. The point of the campaign is toaddress these issues head-on and do something positive.”

Speaking about the campaign Sue Wigmore, Wales Manager at Bipolar UK,said: “Throughout the summer 22 county events will give service users andcarers across Wales the opportunity to get a physical health check up from aqualified healthcare professional, take part in physical activities and getcreative in cookery sessions. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we hope that itwill inspire people to take control of their personal wellbeing and livehealthier, longer lives.”

DavidCrepaz-Keay, Head of Empowerment and Social Inclusion at the Mental HealthFoundation, said: “The campaign isn’t just about serviceusers and carers taking action: we are challenging GPs, other health and socialcare professionals, Health Boards, local authorities and the Welsh Governmentto ensure that all aspects of physical health are systematically addressed aspart of clients’ Care and Treatment Plans, that service users receive regularhealth checks from their GP and that the physical health care needs of carersare properly assessed and addressed.”

Suzanne Duval, Director of Operations, DiverseCymru, said:”We are delighted to be supporting the campaign to ensure that it reachesout to minority and disadvantaged communities across Wales, particularly assome of those communities have very particular health issues. We aim to makethe campaign as inclusive as possible so that everyone gets the opportunity toGet Physical this summer!”