Taking the Wheel at the Eisteddfod

Service users from Hafal’s Wrexham project have been discussing the “Taking the Wheel” campaign’s theme of empowerment at the Eisteddfod today.

The service-user led campaign, which aims to empower people with a serious mental illness to take control of their lives and the services they receive, has been at the Eisteddfod in Wrexham throughout this week and has attracted thousands of visitors, most notably Health and Social Services Minister, Lesley Griffiths AM.

Hafal’s stand has promoted the campaign and also highlighted the work of our projects across the country. Today, clients have been celebrating our work in Wrexham and sharing their views on what has put them in control of their recovery.

Service user and Hafal Expert Patient Trainer Ian Baynes, 34, who has schizophrenia, said: “I felt a little isolated before I came to Hafal. What’s really empowered me has been meeting new friends and people and going to various events over the last five years.

“I’ve also taken part in training which has helped build my confidence and enabled me to become a Hafal Expert Patient Trainer. I’ve helped make some DVDs at the Wrexham project, too, including one on mental health awareness and, most recently a DVD on safeguarding which was launched by Lesley Griffiths AM.”

Service user Steven Roberts, 40, who has schizophrenia said: “The areas I’ve concentrated on in my Hafal Recovery Plan have been housing finance and training.

“I’ve recently moved into my own flat after living in supported housing for eight months. Having my own place has been a great help to me because I didn’t go out much before moving in, now I’ve found that I’m happier to go out on my own. Becoming more sociable has been a gradual process which has made me feel more empowered.

“Hafal has helped me manage my money, too. I had serious money problems in April but I’m slowly putting my finances back in order.

“I’ve got a background in computer-related work so the final part of my care plan targets has been preparing to teach a six-week computer course which will begin shortly. My care plan has a very structured approach which has made my targets achievable.”

Hafal’s EPTs are people with experience of a serious mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who have made huge strides in their recovery and have now decided to become mental health trainers in order to share their thoughts on recovery (and a range of issues) so others can learn from the experiences. For more information: http://www.hafal.org/hafal/news.php?id=170

To view the Safeguarding DVD Ian mentioned, “Safeguarding for the protection of vulnerable adults”, please visit: http://www.ssiacymru.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=6631

To see more pictures go to: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hafal/131232186903160#!/pages/Hafal/131232186903160?sk=photos