Wednesday 12 October 2011

An Excellent Metaphor

I'm on holiday so catching up with events in the world of Hafal. Delighted to see the pictures from the Senedd yesterday where our report from the "Taking the Wheel" campaign was launched in the Oriel Gallery by Health and Social Services Minister Lesley Griffiths AM.

The What Users Want! report provides feedback on the popular, client-led campaign which Hafal has been supporting in partnership with MDF the Bipolar Organisation Cymru and the Mental Health Foundation. The campaign empowered mental health service users to take control of their lives and the services they receive.

Backing the campaign's objectives the Minister said: "Taking the Wheel acts as an excellent metaphor for the recovery approach in mental health - something which I strongly support - where people, working with professionals, can take control and drive improvements to benefit their mental health, and be directly involved in their care and treatment.

"This is in line with our commitment to use the legislative powers of the Mental Health Measure. From next year, this will mean mental health support services will be available within primary care in all local authority areas, and service users will benefit from integrated and individual care and treatment plans."

The campaign encouraged people receiving secondary mental health services (or those who have serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other diagnoses which typically require high levels of care) to take the driving seat in managing their own recovery from serious mental illness.

The clear message emerging from the campaign is that service users want help across a wide range of Care Planning areas. Significantly, service users view the Care and Treatment Plan as the means of ensuring that mental health services are shaped by patients' needs.

Hafal Expert Patient Trainer Dave Smith explained: "I've spoken to a lot of fellow service users during the campaign and the consensus is that we don't expect vast new resources for mental health services. We know that this isn't going to happen anyway. But we do want client-centred services. And we're agreed that this can be can be done concretely by using Part 2 of the Measure which concerns care planning.

"Service users want individual Care and Treatment Plans but it's not good enough to make these Plans fit the services available. Services should be based on what's in the Plans, not the other way round. And there should be enough flexibility in the provision of services so that they can meet every individual's needs."

Quite so, Dave, and roll on 2012 when the Measure comes into force and we can help all users of secondary mental health services and their families to take control.

To read "What Users Want!" go here; to listen to the Minister's speech go here.