Monday 6 August 2012

A Real Shift

Mel Cook, our tireless friend and colleague from the Mental Health Foundation, blitzes the smoothies at the Monmouth event

Once again I am catching up having been away from a decent broadband signal (for a long weekend in Pembrokeshire)...

Reports wing their way west of an air of celebration at last week's Movin’ On Up event at Chepstow Castle.

And not without good cause: Monmouthshire service users and carers were delighted that 382 people across Wales supported the Mental Health Service User and Carer Panel’s views on how the Government’s forthcoming Mental Health Strategy for Wales, "Together for Mental Health", could be improved.

One of the Panel’s main concerns was how to broaden the engagement of service users and carers – both in the delivery of their own Care and Treatment Plans and in the wider planning and delivery of services.

Carolyn Potter, a volunteer at Hafal’s Monmouthshire project, said: "The ground-breaking new Care and Treatment Plans will really benefit service users like myself providing they are used properly. I am passionate about person-centred planning after becoming involved in it while campaigning for better transition services for disabled young people. Person-centred planning done properly – it will require intensive training and a real shift in attitude - together with the new Care and Treatment Plans could revolutionise mental health care in Wales.

"I can now see a brighter future where my skills, qualifications and experiences can be used to help not just my own recovery but also help improve mental health services in Wales. I hope to be actively involved in training and advocating for Care and Treatment Planning. It’s not the career path I set out on long ago but will possibly be very much more fulfilling!"

Thanks, Carolyn, that's a heartening reminder of how involvement has the "win-win" potential both to improve services and assist individual service users by offering opportunities for them to use their skills.