Hafal celebrates World Mental Health Day at the Senedd

Above: First Minister for Wales Rhodri Morgan speaks at the World Mental Health Day event

Hafal – Wales’ principal charity for people with severe mental illness and their carers – celebrated the 15th annual World Mental Health Day on October 10 at the Senedd, home of the National Assembly for Wales, where two of the charity’s key new publications were launched by Health and Social Services Minister Edwina Hart and Jonathan Morgan, the Shadow Minister.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan also spoke at Hafal’s display in the Oriel gallery, along with Ted Unsworth, Chair of the Assembly Government’s Review of Secure Mental Health Services.

World Mental Health Day was launched in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, and hundreds of events are held annually worldwide to raise awareness of the challenges and achievements of people with mental illness.

The day presents a valuable opportunity for voluntary organisations such as Hafal to draw wider attention to mental health issues, an opportunity the charity took by launching its two new patient-led publications.

These are: ‘Treatments for Severe Mental Illness – A Practical Guide’ and ‘Reducing Risk, Achieving Recovery – An Action Plan for People with Severe Mental Illness who come into contact with the Criminal Justice System.’

Hafal Chief Executive, Bill Walden-Jones, said: “We’re pleased to be launching these ground-breaking new Hafal publications on World Mental Health Day at the Senedd.

“Mentally disordered offenders are among the most vulnerable people in our society and our new Action Plan features innovative ways of working to improve the life chances of people with severe mental illness who find themselves in contact with the Criminal Justice System.

“Our new guide to treatments for severe mental illness was written in recognition of the need for a balanced approach to treatment, combining information on medication with a look at different kinds of talking therapies that can be very helpful and to which we believe there should be more access.”

Hafal service users and staff were joined by many interested visitors at the event, which also featured stalls and displays from other organisations such as the Mental Health Research Network and Gofal Cymru, and speeches were given by the Health Minister and the Shadow Minister, Ted Unsworth, Nerys Evans AM and others.

In her speech, the Health Minister commended the work of Hafal and said making life better for people with severe mental illness in Wales was one of her top priorities.

Jonathan Morgan AM spoke of his support for the devolution of mental health legislation to the Welsh Assembly.

Ted Unsworth welcomed Hafal’s new action guide on mentally disordered offenders.