Hafal to launch “12 Lives” and Young People’s Information Hub at the Senedd in celebration of World Mental Health Day

Hafal is to launch two exciting new developments at the Senedd on October 13th as part of its World Mental Health Day celebrations.

“12 Lives”, a unique publication presenting the stories of people in Wales with experience of serious mental illness, will be launched by Jonathan Morgan AM. The event will also see Hafal’s Big Lottery-funded Young People’s Information Hub, including ” Road to Recovery”, the charity’s new guide for young people experiencing mental illness, launched by Chair of the National Assembly for Wales’ Children and Yong People’s Committee Helen Mary Jones AM.

Issues raised in “12 Lives”, which has been produced in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation and MDF The Bipolar Organisation Cymru, are wide-ranging and provide an illuminating view into what real people with mental illness have to live through; they also point to the solutions to many of the problems in care and treatment.

Topics raised in “12 Lives” include: employment; education; medication; the affect mental ill health has on personal, professional and family relationships; what it’s like having a serious mental illness within the criminal justice system; anorexia; overcoming alcoholism; and the need for early intervention services to accelerate the journey towards recovery.

“12 Lives” also includes a methodical care planning approach to recovery which reflects the achievements of the people featured in the publication and which is based on the experiences of over 500 people with serious mental illness supported by Hafal.

Writing in the publication’s foreword Hafal’s National Service User Champion Sue Barnes stated: “These stories set out personal perspectives on mental illness based on lived experience. When I first read the 12 stories I was profoundly moved. What touched me most was that while the stories cover periods of extreme adversity and often poor service provision, the people interviewed for this guide are surprisingly good-hearted. What the stories demonstrate is the inconsistency, lack of process and failed opportunities in the delivery of mental health services.

“Despite this failure, the people featured in this publication have made strides towards recovery, largely through their own efforts. For most of these people much of the painful struggle was unnecessary. I know from my own experience of mental illness that if they had received methodical, holistic care and treatment in the first place their lives could have improved much faster.”

Following the launch of “12 Lives” Helen Mary Jones AM will launch the Big Lottery-funded Young People’s Information Hub which has been set up in order to fill a large gap in current information provision to young people with a serious mental illness and their families/carers.

Information provided by the Hub will be underpinned by three key principles:

• That young people who have a serious mental illness should be signposted to appropriate services at the earliest possible opportunity;

• That all information should carry a strong recovery message; and

• That all information should be as accessible as possible to a wide audience.

Hafal has produced a new website for the launch which has been designed to promote recovery and disseminate information to agencies most likely to come into contact with young people who have a mental illness, such as schools, colleges/universities, the police, young offenders institutions, young people’s organisations and youth charities.