Vital work of Hafal staff celebrated by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace reception

Five members of staff from Welsh mental health charity Hafal attended an exclusive reception at Buckingham Palace on World Mental Health Day (10th October 2017). The event, which celebrated the vital contribution of those working in the mental health sector in the UK, was by invitation only, and was hosted by T.R.H. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and H.R.H. Prince Henry of Wales.

The Hafal staff members invited to the reception were:-

  • Sharon Jones – Director of Operations
  • Andrew Mulholland – Compliance & Quality Assurance Programme Manager
  • Ruth Wilson – Practice Leader, Aberystwyth
  • Malcolm O’Callaghan – Practice Leader, Blaenau Gwent
  • Denise Charles – Project Manager, Caniad.

Hafal’s Chief Executive Alun Thomas said: “We are so proud of our five staff members who were celebrated at this special event. Each has made a huge difference to the lives of people in Wales with a mental illness and their carers, and our Members are thrilled that their dedication has been recognised.

“To have five staff members invited to the Palace on World Mental Health Day is a great honour, both for the individuals themselves and for the organisation as a whole.”

Speaking at the reception Prince Harry said: “All of you helped change the language around this issue, shifting away from fear and shame, to a more open and optimistic sense about what we can achieve when we simply start talking. All of you showed what is possible when we get our Heads Together.”

The reception at Buckingham Palace acknowledged those who have made a particularly significant contribution towards raising awareness of mental health conditions and providing support services. The event also provided a platform for staff from the public health sector to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, Vaughan Gething said: “I am delighted to hear that the Palace has celebrated the work of team members from Welsh mental health charity Hafal, an organisation working closely with the Welsh Government and patient-led groups across Wales.

“The Welsh Government is leading on involvement and joint working with patient-led groups such as Hafal who make a valuable contribution to shaping our policies and providing ongoing help, advice and support to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are committed to raising awareness about mental health issues, and their Heads Together campaign aims to tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Hafal, a Welsh mental health charity established in 2003, is the principal organisation in Wales working with individuals recovering from serious mental illness and their families. The charity is managed by the people it supports – individuals with serious mental illness and their families. Every day Hafal’s  staff and volunteers provide help to over 1,500 people affected by serious mental illness.

Matt Pearce