Lesley Griffiths: “Education of central importance to treating mental illness”

Lesley Griffiths AM highlighted the positive impact training and education can have on the lives of mental health service users at today’s “Movin’ On Up” event in Wrexham.

During the event Lesley presented mental health service users from Hafal’s Wrexham project with Agored and City and Guilds certificates for work completed on a range of subjects including: “Introduction to trainer skills”, “Mental Health Diaries” and “Speaking with confidence”.

Lesley said: “As the Assembly Member for Wrexham, I have known of the good work done by Hafal  here in Wrexham for many years. Through my role as Minister for Health and Social Services, I am also familiar with the  valuable work undertaken across Wales by ‘Movin’ On Up’s’ other partners, Bipolar UK and the Mental Health Foundation. It is therefore a pleasure to attend this event and especially to be asked to present these certificates. Education and training are of central importance to a rounded approach to treating mental illness, helping us to treat the patient as a whole, rather than as a collection of symptoms.

“The Welsh Government is currently implementing the  Mental Health (Wales) Measure which incorporates such an approach, placing a duty upon mental health services in Wales to agree  Care and Treatment Plans together with the users of secondary mental health services. It is  great to see this approach being put into effect by service users and their families on the one hand, and local professional teams in Wrexham on the other. Together they are helping to put the service user at the heart of mental health services.”

Speaking of the positive impact training and education has had on her life, Wrexham Service user Naomi Challoner said: “Not so long ago I was quiet and wouldn’t speak openly in public. I wasn’t in a good place, my mental health was affecting all areas of my life. But then I started to work with a Community Link Service and since then I have gained confidence. I’ve  done two Agored courses and my outlook on life has changed. For example I’m much more confident socially now.

“I represent Hafal’s Wrexham project at events. In June I went to Cardiff to the launch of the Care and Treatment Planning Guide which was produced by Hafal in collaboration with our ‘Movin’ On Up’ partners. I spoke to Lesley at the launch. Lesley then came to one of our focus groups at a later date and remembered me. At the focus group I spoke to the Minister about how much my life has changed. She took an interest in the courses I have done and the fact that I  share my experiences with others.

“I wasn’t in a good place, but now I’m buzzing with life. This is thanks to Hafal and the support I have had.”