Thursday 3 May 2012

Real Sports

Looking forward to the first Movin' On Up event in sunny Merthyr Tydfil tomorrow - not exactly up a mountain but at just over 1,000 feet Hafal's base in Dowlais may qualify as the highest in Wales (well, let's test that - there's a pint for the first person to point out a higher one but I feel fairly secure on this).

The event will will feature a mobile cinema, our classic VW campaign campervan and a "mobile mountain" (I will reveal what this means after it is unveiled tomorrow - I haven't seen it myself yet).

Lee McCabe, our Recovery Practitioner at the Merthyr project who has personal experience of serious mental illness, explains...

"The aim of the campaign is to maximise the opportunities for recovery provided by the new Welsh Government Mental Health Strategy and the Mental Health Measure which comes into force during 2012.

"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 can make the most of their new rights under the Mental Health Measure and Carers Measure."

Service users and carers at the event will have the opportunity to discuss the new Strategy, find out more about the Carers Measure and explore how they can get the most out of the new Care and Treatment Plans prescribed by the Mental Health Measure.

The "Movin’ On Up" campaign is run by service users and carers with the support of three mental health charities - Hafal and our good friends in Bipolar UK and the Mental Health Foundation. The campaign includes 22 weekly events - one in every county of Wales - and will incorporate two mountain climbs with service users scaling Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons a week tomorrow (yes, I will be there rain or shine and I will go all the way) and Wales’ highest peak, Snowdon, in the late summer. The campaign will also feature an interactive stand at the Royal Welsh Show and an event on World Mental Health Day at the National Assembly.

The key concerns of the campaign will get a thorough airing when service users and carers facilitate a Seminar on May 17th in Builth Wells in order to develop their continuing dialogue with senior policy makers and providers of mental health services.

I'm also very much looking forward to the climb next week. As Hemingway said "There are only three real sports: bull-fighting, car racing and mountain climbing. All the others are mere games". So it's mountain climbing this summer but there are a couple of ideas for future years, subject to careful risk assessment of course.