Groundbreaking “dialogue of equals” at “Movin’ On Up” Event

Mental health service users and carers staged a groundbreaking event yesterday. The “Movin’ On Up” Seminar, which took place in Llandrindod Wells, saw service users and carers develop their continuing “dialogue of equals” with senior policy makers and providers of mental health services by discussing the opportunities for recovery provided by the Welsh Government’s new Mental Health Strategy and the Mental Health (Wales) Measure and the Carers Measure.

Expert Patient Trainer Dave Smith said: “It was an exciting event with a great representation of service users, carers, health professionals and policy makers. Often service users are consulted for their ideas and opinions but the “Movin’ On Up” Seminar saw an actual conversation between us, senior policy makers in Government and the NHS. It was empowering for everyone – and because of frankness of the discussion and the equality given to the various perspectives, the event generated some truly innovative ideas.”

David Crepaz-Keay, Head of Empowerment and Social Inclusion at the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Twenty years ago the idea that you could come to a conference that was led by the people who are most important in the process would not have been believed. It’s been a truly enjoyable and informative day.”

Key points that emerged from the day included the following:

·         A process is required where the outcomes of the Mental Health (Wales) Measure are recorded and disseminated so that service users and carers know that it is working, that it is making a difference and that it is not just a piece of paper but a real step forward.

·         There is a major task to embed the culture needed for the implementation of the new Measure and Strategy in the day-to-day practice of Care Coordinators and other front-line staff, as well as their managers.

·         Service users and carers need to be formally involved in the wider commissioning of services and not just ‘consulted’.  There also needs to be a specific intention to acknowledge and enhance the role of carers through the Strategy and the Measure and through the information systems which are now required through the Carers Measure.

Today (Friday 18th) the campaign reached Neath Port Talbot with an event taking place in Neath’s busy town centre. Unsurprisingly the campaign camper – a classic 1963 VW – attracted a huge amount of interest. Click here for the pics!

The “Movin’ On Up” campaign is run by service users and carers and supported by mental health charities Hafal, Bipolar UK and the Mental Health Foundation. Events are taking place in all 22 counties and the campaign will culminate in a climb of Wales’ highest peak, Snowdon, in September. The campaign will also feature an interactive stand at the Royal Welsh Show and on World Mental Health Day at the National Assembly.