Hafal launches ’12 Lives’ and Big Lottery-funded Young People’s Information Hub

Hafal has launched ‘12 Lives’ – a unique publication presenting the stories of people in Wales with experience of serious mental illness – and its Big Lottery-funded Young People’s Information Hub, at the Senedd.

‘12 Lives’ and the Hub were launched by Jonathan Morgan AM and Helen Mary Jones AM respectively on October 13th as part of the Welsh mental health charity’s World Mental Health Day celebrations.

Launching ‘12 Lives’, which has been produced in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation and MDF The Bipolar Organisation Cymru, Jonathan Morgan said: “I think ’12 Lives’ is a wonderful publication that talks in very frank and stark terms about the experiences of twelve individuals.

“For generations our view of physical ill health has been different, in many ways more sympathetic than our attitudes to mental ill health. When we see someone whose leg is in plaster; when we someone who has been in hospital because they’ve had an accident our immediate reaction is to sympathise, maybe even, if it’s a family member or a friend, to send a get well card. I doubt the same happens to those who live with the consequences of mental ill health.

“I believe that ‘12 Lives’ will help us better inform people about the real experiences of those who live with mental ill health, to allow us to start the process of tackling stigma and informing the younger generation that mental ill health is something that could happen to anybody.”

Mr Morgan added: “It doesn’t matter where you live in Wales. It doesn’t matter how wealthy you are, how fit you are, how unfit you are, it doesn’t matter how intelligent you are – mental ill health knows no boundaries. I think it’s important we do our bit to inform the next generation about these sorts of challenges. Tackling stigma and societal attitudes to mental ill health is, what I believe, the priority should be beyond implementation of the Measure, and I believe this brilliant publication will start this process.”

Following the launch of ‘12 Lives’ Helen Mary Jones AM launched 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.

Launching the Hub Helen Mary said: “As the Chair of the Children and Young People’s Committee it’s a great privilege to launch this resource today not only the booklet but the information hub. It’s punchy, it’s modern, it’s accessible – I’ve got a 14-year-old myself so I know the kind of things teenagers will look at and will and will not use. The very fact it (the young people’s guide) doesn’t say on the front ‘A young person’s guide’ – which is frankly enough to get most teenagers put it in the bin straightaway – is great. This is designed to be simple, accessible and straightforward. I’m sure it’s going to be a huge national resource and I’m really grateful to Hafal for all the work you’ve done in putting it together.

“We know that many young people in our communities face major mental health challenges. As Jonathan said mental health issues can happen to all people including all young people – not just young people growing up in fractured families, not just young people growing up in poverty, it can happen to any of us in anybody’s family – and having this vital and valuable tool to help us get the right information with the emphasis on recovery and taking control is a great asset. This is going to be a great tool for children and young people in Wales.”

To view an online edition of 12 Lives please visit: http://www.hafal.org/hafal/pdf/English_12_Lives.pdf

To view Hafal’s young people’s ‘Road to Recovery’ website please visit: http://www.hafal.org/hafal/yp_index.php