Monday 13 October 2014

Kwang Do Attitude

And I thought salsa was a piquant sauce to dip prawns in...

Our Let's Get Physical! 2014 national campaign reached its climax last Friday at an event held in St Fagans, Cardiff to mark World Mental Health Day. The event was attended by Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM and Kevin Brennan MP as well as service users and carers from across Wales, and saw the launch of:-

• A new Let's Get Physical! guide for mental health services on how to promote physical health, based on the experiences and insights of hundreds of service users and carers across Wales

• A new Let's Get Physical! website for mental health services providing tools and information on promoting physical health

• A Let's Get Physical! Report giving an overview of the campaign's many achievements.

Visitors at the event had the opportunity to watch live demonstrations on how to prepare hearty and nutritious meals on a budget; get a physical health check from a qualified healthcare professional in the Mobile Health Centre; have a go at spinning, Choi Kwang Do, salsa dancing and table tennis, and meet mental health service users, carers and professionals from across Wales.

The 2014 campaign was led by people with a serious mental illness and carers, and supported by mental health charities Hafal, Bipolar UK and the Mental Health Foundation; Diverse Cymru helped to ensure the campaign reached out to minority and disadvantaged communities.

During Summer 2014 the campaign engaged thousands of people across the 22 counties of Wales in 2014 including:

• Over 3000 service users and carers using Hafal and Bipolar UK services who took part in local Let's Get Physical! activities run through our projects across Wales

• Many thousands of people who attended the 22 local events covering all the counties of Wales, the launch of the campaign by Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford at the Assembly, and the Royal Welsh Show event

• Tens of thousands of people who followed and interacted with the campaign via the online social media channels of Hafal, the Mental Health Foundation, Bipolar UK and Diverse Cymru

• The 65,000 unique visitors who visited Hafal’s websites - including the dedicated 'Let's Get Physical!' website - and saw coverage of the campaign in the local and national media.

As a result, service users and carers across Wales are now much better equipped to improve their physical health - and mental health services are better equipped to support service users and carers to achieve their physical health goals.

Participants scored the effectiveness of the campaign (out of 10) as follows:

• In supporting them be more physically active – average score 9.4

• In supporting them improve their diet – average score 8.9

• In supporting them to get the right support from their GP to stay physically well – average score 8.5

Junaid Iqbal, a member of the campaign's Service User and Carer Panel, tells us: "What we’ve been doing, and what we will continue to do in the coming years, is to take the side of the users of mental health services and empower them to engage fully with those services.

"We're promoting co-production - where services and service users work together in partnership in an equal relationship to achieve the very best outcome."


But while we are about it - try this Welsh salsa recipe...

Mix together:-

4 large tomatoes, diced quite carefully into quarter inch cubes

½ medium red onion, ditto

½ leek, ditto (this is the Welsh bit)

1 fresh green chilli, deseeded, very finely chopped

1 handful fresh coriander, evenly but not finely chopped

juice of 1 lime

salt and black pepper to taste

Note: careful chopping matters in this otherwise easy dish - you want a nice, even and differentiated look, not a sludge. This is more like a salad or relish than a sauce - fantastic with anything from steaks to fish to cold meat. Best served after leaving one hour.