The “Taking the Wheel” campaign reached Merthyr today.

Service users and carers from Hafal’s Merthyr project have discussed the campaign’s theme of empowerment during today’s event.

Speaking on empowerment in relation to the choices of treatment available for people with a serious mental illness, Sharon Harris, a Hafal Expert Patient Trainer (EPT) and Service User who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, social anxiety and depression, said: “Choice of treatments is really important but it’s got to be meaningful.

“I had a choice of three types of non-medical treatments. I have used CBT, ‘talk therapy’ and a computer-based therapy. However, the problem was they were all time-limited and didn’t continue long enough to achieve a real effect in helping me recover. What’s needed is consistent, continuing support which lasts as long as you need to achieve real recovery.”

• Hafal has produced “Treatments for Severe Mental Illness A Practical Guide”, a publication which looks at the direct treatments for serious mental illness: psychological therapies and medication. To download a copy please visit:

• Hafal’s EPTs are people with experience of a serious mental illness who have become mental health trainers in order to share their experiences and insights on recovery and a range of issues so others can learn from what they have been through. Hafal currently has 15 Expert Patient Trainers delivering a variety of training courses both internally and externally; clients have included the Welsh Government and the DVLA.

To see pictures of today’s event please go to: