Hafal’s spring seminar promotes recovery

Hafal, the principal Welsh charity for people with severe mental illness and their carers, this week holds a conference in North Wales entitled “What Users Want – a seminar promoting the ambitions for recovery of people with severe mental illness”.

“What Users Want” brings together active and informed service users and carers with policy-makers, commissioners and providers of mental health services to explore ways of working together to make the current framework of policy and practice work well for the individual user.

The aim of the day is not to criticise existing services, but to test methodically whether there is a meeting of minds between consumers of mental health services and those responsible for providing them.

Discussion in the Seminar will be grounded in the widely-supported National Service Framework for adult mental health services. Attendees will also be able to engage with emerging policy on mental health following the recent Burrows-Greenwell Review of Mental Health Services and the Review of Secure Mental Health Services.

As a product of the Seminar, Hafal will publish a report setting out practical suggestions for commissioners and providers to help tune services to users’ needs and ambitions.

Hafal’s Chief Executive Bill Walden-Jones said: “As a charity that is led by the people who use its services, Hafal is committed to supporting people with serious mental illness to make themselves heard, in the belief that those who access services are experts by experience and have a valuable contribution to make in the planning of treatment and care.

“This Seminar is an innovative event that will bring the service users’ perspective together with the views of senior professionals across a range of organisations that all have a part to play in mental health in Wales. We expect a productive dialogue leading to new perspectives and new ideas, which we will publish in due course.”

Key participants at the Seminar include:

• Lord Elis-Thomas AM, Presiding Officer, National Assembly for Wales
• Suzanne Vogel-Scibilia, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, immediate past President of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the United States, who has had bipolar disorder since the age of fifteen
• Stewart Greenwell, Chief Officer, Social Care and Housing, Torfaen CBC, Co-Chair of the recent Review of Mental Health Services
• Phil Chick, Director, Mental Health, Welsh Assembly Government
• Carl Hooper, Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist
• Giles Harborne, Consultant Psychiatrist, North East Wales NHS Trust
• Ron Woodall, Chair, Mental Health Users Forum (North West Wales)
• Suzanne Duval, Director, Awetu All Wales Black and Minority Ethnic Mental Health Group and mental health service user
• Sandra Loxton, North Wales CPA Lead
• Mark Boulter, General Practitioner and member of the Assembly
Government’s NSF Implementation Advisory Group

* “What Users Want” is held at Glasdir, Conwy Rural Development Centre in Llanrwst on Thursday, May 15.