Wednesday 16 May 2012

A Dialogue Of Equals

I'm looking forward to the Seminar tomorrow in Llandrindod where I will (as is now customary) take a largely back seat and let the panel of real experts, that means users and a carers, facilitate the day and continue their dialogue begun last year with the great and the good (not meant sarcastically I assure you!) in Welsh mental health services.

The Seminar is one of the highlights of our service user-led "Movin’ On Up" summer-long campaign. The aim of the campaign is to maximise the opportunities for recovery provided by the Welsh Government's new Mental Health Strategy and the Mental Health (Wales) Measure and the Carers Measure.

At the Seminar service users and carers will develop their continuing "dialogue of equals" with senior policy makers and providers of mental health services with a focus on:

• Engaging in the development and implementation of the new Mental Health Strategy ensuring that it is recovery-focused, empowers service users and their families, and supports the Mental Health (Wales) Measure by prescribing the services which individual Care and Treatment Plans demand.

• Taking full advantage of the Mental Health (Wales) Measure which promotes holistic care and treatment planning. The campaign will see service users taking the lead in negotiating robust Care and Treatment Plans which address all areas of life. Service users and their carers will challenge mental health and other services to deliver on the new law by acting on the Care and Treatment Plans in collaboration with their clients. They will also challenge the Welsh Government, NHS and local authorities to ensure that resources for mental health and other services are focused on meeting needs identified in the Care and Treatment Plans.

• Ensuring that the families and carers of people with a serious mental illness are able to exercise their rights under the new Carers’ Measure and Mental Health (Wales) Measure so that they can support the people they care for on their path to recovery – and achieve a better life themselves.

• Promoting the take-up of other opportunities provided by the new Mental Health (Wales) Measure for improved primary care services (including mental health assessments, short-term interventions and onward referral to secondary services), for an expanded scheme of independent mental health advocacy for all in-patients, and for improved and faster re-access rights for those who have been discharged from secondary services.

The facilitators tomorrow will be experts with lived experience: Dave Smith, Expert Patient Trainer, Hafal; Nigel Griffiths, Welsh Advisory Board Chair, Bipolar UK; and David Crepaz-Keay, Head of Programmes in Wales, Mental Health Foundation.

Service users and carers have achieved a great success in campaigning for new mental health law in Wales. Now we want to take our campaigning to a new level and become fully involved in the development of the new Mental Health Strategy as well as making sure that users and carers make the most of their new rights under the Mental Health Measure and Carers Measure. The Seminar offers an excellent opportunity for discussion and generation of good, practical ideas.