Celebrating an article published 50 years ago today which led to the creation of Hafal

Fifty years ago today an article appeared in The Times which would change the conversation around mental illness – and eventually lead to the creation of Hafal.

On 9th of May 1970, The Times published an anonymous article by John Pringle in which he wrote about his experience of caring for his son who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and the ways in which that diagnosis affected the family.

The article had a huge impact: carers across the country subsequently wrote letters sharing their own experiences. A community of carers grew, and in 1972 John Pringle formed a new charity, the National Schizophrenia Fellowship (NSF). In 2003, the NSF in Wales became Hafal – an independent Welsh charity.

Speaking about the 50-year anniversary of John Pringle’s letter, Alun Thomas, Hafal’s Chief Executive, said: “The letter was a landmark moment. It changed the way mental health was spoken about because it brought together carers from the UK who suddenly realised: it’s not only us, there are other people out there in a similar position and facing the same issues.

“As a result of John Pringle’s words, carers – and the people they cared for – came together, gained a voice at national level, and campaigned vigorously over five decades for a fairer deal. That work continues today. At these difficult times it has never been more important to fight for the rights of people with a mental illness and their families and ensure their needs are met. And thanks to John Pringle’s letter, we are here, as a Member-led organisation, to do just that.”

For more information please contact Matt Pearce, Head of Communications, by email at matthew.pearce@hafal.org