Archive for June, 2008

Supporting children in families affected by mental illness

June 30, 2008

“You want your mum even when she’s ill, especially when you’re just a kid”.

Family Minded – a Report published by Barnado’s – is based on the experience of a numberof Barnado’s services that work with children whose lives are affected by parental mental ill-health.  It is informed by the academic literature in this field.   It explores the challenges of parental mental illness for both policy and practice, addressing mental health policy and practice in all four nations of the UK.

To read the full report, which is of value to all who are in this situation, and especially those with responsibility for developing and guiding services, including the voluntary sector, visit the Barnado’s website using the link below and look under Resources, then Books & Tools, then Families – and scroll down to Young Carers section – and click on Family Minded.  There’s other interesting stuff there as well… Sorry this is so long winded bit I am having a real problem in uploading the direct link.  There is also a copy of the full report saved under Pages – Essential Reports – that should work!  Yup!  It does!





Future dates of Forum and Network meetings 2008/9

June 30, 2008

The dates of future Monmouthshire Mental Health Service User and Carer Forum and Network meetings are:


Forum                                        Network


                                                 25 June 08

23 July 08

                                                 27 August 08

24 September 08

                                                 22 October 08

26 November 08

                                                 14 January 09

11 February 09

                                                 11 March 09


(No meetings in December – people find it too difficult.)


All the meetings take place in the Mental Health Resource room at The Sessions House, Maryport Street, Usk.

They start at 1.30pm, with a break midway, and end at approximately 3.45pm.   Simple refreshments are provided.

Forum meetings are open to all with an interest in mental health development in Monmouthshire, but the Network meetings are restricted to service users and carers only, and their invited guests.


Future Vision for mental health

June 27, 2008

Future Vision is a coalition of seven leading mental health organisations who have come together to publish a discussion paper asking for your comments on their vision for substantial changes in mental health provision over the next ten years.  Although the report is focussed on England there is plenty of room for thought about mental health provision in Wales.   To read the full document click on the link below:-

Truth Hurts – Report of the National Inquiry into Self-harm among Young People

June 22, 2008

The following is an extract from the Executive Summary of the Report, carried out by the Mental Health Foundation.  To read the whole report please click the following link:


Self-harm among young people is a major public health issue in the UK. It affects at least one in 15 young people and some evidence suggests that rates of self-harm in the UK are higher than anywhere else in Europe. Self-harm blights the lives of young people and seriously affects their relationships with families and friends. It presents a major challenge to all those in services and organisations that work with young people, from schools through to hospital accident and emergency departments.

Levels of self-harm are one indicator of the mental health and mental well-being of young people in our society in general. Recently there has been a shift in government strategies, across the UK, towards recognising and promoting better mental health and emotional well-being for all children and young people. These initiatives may eventually do a great deal to reduce self-harm among young people but the Inquiry found that implementation to date is patchy and there is not yet an adequate evidence base specific to self-harm.




UK Health Services failing Lesbians – Stonewall comments.

June 22, 2008

Damning inequalities revealed in first major lesbian health study

Significantly more self-harm and suicide than in wider female population
Higher levels of drug use and heavy drinking
Almost half Wales’ lesbians still report a recent negative NHS experience

The first major survey ever conducted into lesbian and bisexual women’s health in Britain reveals deeply disturbing levels of self-harm, substance abuse and exclusion from routine testing for cervical cancer. Prescription for Change, a survey of 6,000 lesbian and bisexual respondents across the UK, suggests that health services are failing to identify specific healthcare needs among Britain’s 1.8 million lesbian population. They are also failing to address specific mental health needs that many women still experience as a result of discrimination. 

The survey, the biggest of its kind ever conducted outside America, provides unique new statistics on the mental health, drinking and drug use of lesbian and bisexual women in Britain in 2008:

1.           More than one in five lesbian and bisexual women in Wales have deliberately harmed themselves in the last year, compared to 0.4 per cent of the general UK population.

2.           Over thirty five per cent drink three times a week or more compared to a quarter of women in general.

3.           More than 1 in 4 lesbian and bisexual women in Wales say that they have or have been told that they have an eating problem, compared to 1 in 20 of the general UK population

New legislative protections introduced in 2007 made it unlawful to discriminate against lesbian and bisexual women in the delivery of public services, yet almost half still report having had negative experiences in the health sector in the last year.

Almost fifteen per cent of lesbian and bisexual women over 25 in Wales – almost double the number of women in general – have never had a cervical smear test. Only 51 per cent have had a cervical smear test in the last 3 years, compared to 70% of the women in the UK.

More than half of lesbian and bisexual women in Wales have not disclosed their sexual orientation to health care professionals.

Liz Morgan, Director of Stonewall Cymru, said: “Results of this survey of lesbian and bisexual women should be of concern to health care practitioners. The findings should also serve to alert the NHS in Wales that they need to address their statutory duty towards these women. This report demonstrates the clear need for the current duty on health services to provide equality of treatment on grounds of gender, ethnicity and disability to be extended to include sexual orientation.”

The report includes ten key recommendations for the NHS to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery for lesbian and bisexual patients. “We trust that Assembly members and Ministers will take this report seriously and start pushing service providers across Wales to address some of the very stark evidence of inconsistent service delivery revealed by this research.” said Liz Morgan.

If you want to read the full report click the following link:- Prescription for Change:


Change of name and web address.

June 19, 2008

Thanks to Andrew for reminding me that Depression Alliance Cymru has now changed its name to Journeys, and the new web address is   The Link pager has been updated.

Monmouthshire Mental Health Service User and Carer Network meeting

June 18, 2008

The next meeting of this Network will be held at The Sessions House, Usk next Wednesday 25th June at 1.30pm.  You are welcome to arrive from 1pm onwards and the meeting should end by 3.45pm.  There will be the usual break midway.  The Network meetings are restricted to attendance by service users and carers living in Monmouthshire, and their specifically invited guests/speakers.  The Forum meetings, of course, are open to anyone living in Monmouthshire with an interest in mental health matters.

The Agenda for Wednesday is:

CPA (Care Programme Approach)  Open discussion led by Terry Williams.

Open Up Art Project – information and progress in discussion

Refreshment break.

Williams Report – Mental Health Consultation – Main points – Your views/comments are important and the discussion will be led by Jen Pearce. 

Election of Chair for Network and Forum meetings who is a Service User/Carer.

Any Other Business.

We hope to see as many as can attend, and help with transport can be offered as usual.   Please contact Jen or Tony on 01291 673728 if you need help with this, or more information. 

Iechyd Meddwl Cymru

June 18, 2008



 Iechyd Meddwl Cymru


A Well Being and Mental Health Service

Fit For Wales



Michael AH Williams


April 2008


The following is an extract from the opening page of the Michael Williams Report.

If you wish to read the entire report then it is saved in the Pages section under Essential Reports.   This a seriously important Consultation and if you would like to make a response to the recommendations, or to receive help in making a response, please contact Jen, Debbi or Tony on 01291-673728

1.                This paper was requested by, Edwina Hart MBE AM, the Minister of Health and Social Services.[i] Its principle recommendation is that a statutory body responsible for mental health and well being in Wales is established. For the purpose of this discussion I have called it, “Iechyd Meddwl Cymru[ii] – a mental health and well being service for Wales.” [IMC].The organisation will include teaching and research as part of its remit.


2.                IMC’s proposed structure will be unique to Wales but in line with the Government of Wales’ health policies and strategies.[iii] [iv] [v] [vi]


3.                IMC is not an attempt to copy other UK models of health care, although it will benefit from good practice wherever it originates from. A recent WIHSC survey of health leaders indicated that a majority of them felt that Wales’ mental health services were not as good as those provided in England.[vii] The WIHSC survey also noted that there is no robust evidence base to commend any particular structural arrangements for the delivery of mental health and social care services. The evidence is largely anecdotal.


4.                IMC will emphasise the positive benefits of addressing issues relating to a person’s well being at all stages through life. This is of benefit not only to the individual but also to communities and is of national importance. The service needs to unite primary care, community mental health services, social services, and acute services in a common code and purpose to provide service users with care that is seamless. Care should not be adversely affected by organisation boundaries, age or budgetary controls.


5.                IMC will involve the voluntary sector and the private sector in the best interests of the service user. The funding of both the voluntary and private sector needs to be addressed in commissioning terms and the wide span of funding sources for the voluntary sector needs to be simplified.

[i]        The author has reviewed available literature and research. However, this is not presented as an academic paper. It is intended as guidance to the Minister and to act as a catalyst for a discussion of the mental health and well being service in Wales.

[ii]         Mental Health Wales

[iii]        One Wales 2007 WAG.

[iv]        Designed for Life 2005 WAG.

[v]         Fulfilled Lives, Supportive Communities 2007.

[vi]        Making the Connections Beyond Boundaries.

Langley Beddow Magill. 2007 WISHC “NHS Barometer 2007 Report of the 2007 Confidential Survey of Leadership Opinion in Wales” -University of Glamorgan.





Healthcare Inspectorate Wales Publishes Reports of its Findings of Two Homicides in Cardiff & Gwent

June 18, 2008

These are quite heavy reading, but if you would like to read the Reports, then click on the following links:


Employment and Mental Ill Health.

June 18, 2008

The following is from the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health website.

We need a ‘radical rethink’ around employment practices to help mentally ill at work, says Trevor Phillips

8 May 2008

Trevor Phillips giving his speech

Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, yesterday called for a ‘radical rethink’ by employers to unleash the talent of people with mental health conditions in a speech for the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. He called on employers to ‘create a workplace which cultivates openness, provides support and promotes mental wellbeing.’

‘By shutting people with a mental health condition out, we turn our back on enormous talent and potential,’ he said. He went on to point out that less than forty per cent of employers are willing to hire someone with a mental heath condition. The cost to the economy is around £10 billion a year.

Mr Phillips indicated a range of practical measures to help employers create a level playing field for staff with mental illnesses. These include:

  • More support
  • Flexibility at work, for example to allow people to attend healthcare appointments, or work outside normal office hours
  • A buddy/mentor scheme to provide support day to day
  • Flexibility around sick leave and unpaid leave.

‘We need to approach the issues of mental health at work not just from the point of view of a medical strategy. We also need an equality strategy.

‘Individual employers need to be aware of the reasonable adjustments they could make to the workplace so that it is feasible for people with mental health issues to stay in employment.

‘The Government is right to raise expectations of people with mental health problems leaving Incapacity Benefit and moving into work, and critically not leaving work and going onto incapacity benefit in the first place. But we need to up our game if we are going to make any real difference. We must redouble our efforts to support people not just to find jobs but to also develop in and keep jobs.’

Angela Greatley, Chief Executive of the Sainsbury centre for Mental Health, said: ‘We are delighted that Trevor Phillips has highlighted the need for all of us to tackle the ignorance and prejudices that reduce the life chances and potential of people with mental health problems.

‘Mental distress is a fact of life. It can affect any of us at any time. Ignoring mental ill health at work is a false economy. Mental ill health costs UK businesses £1,000 a year for every person they employ. Instead of running away from it, employers need to embrace the issue and create workplaces that promote mental wellbeing.’