Sunday, 25 October 2009

Success at 2009 World Mental Health Day

2009 World Mental Health Day campaign highlights the need for more attention to mental health services in primary healthcare and for a need to address the stigma associated with mental health

October 2009 saw a variety of events taking place across Merthyr Tydfil County Borough as part of the World Mental Health Day campaign.

The events this year was aimed to address the continuing need to make mental health issues a priority, and stressed the all too-often neglected fact that mental health is an integral element of every individual’s overall health and well-being.

Mental illnesses occur in all cultures, can happen at any stage of life and can have a major impact on the physical health of people living with them. Research shows that at any one time, one in four people experience mental illness.

A series of information and advice events were held across the Borough to provide information to local residents on how to look after their mental health and to highlight the support available for residents, service users and their families and the role they can play in influencing services in their area.

Mental Health publications and information was made available in a variety of community venues such as local GP surgeries and the local hospitals, which allowed 119 residents to access information and support.

One of the main challenges relating to mental health is to challenge perceptions and stigma, and the often outdated perception of mental healthcare. As part of the World Mental Health Day St Tydfil’s Hospital opened their doors to the general public, providing an opportunity for 75 local residents to view facilities and gain knowledge about local health services in the borough and change perceptions about modern mental healthcare.

The Children’s Primary Mental Health Team was also in attendance at local comprehensive schools, with 500 young people obtaining free information and literature.

During the campaign local service users, carers and families were encouraged to write about their experiences in the form of stories, short articles, poems and posters and share them with other residents and service providers to help address the stigma that is often associated with mental health. All submissions will form part of the final evaluation of the world mental health day events.

The culmination event of the campaign was held on the 9th October 2009 at Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre, which was opened and supported by a local service user and by the Mayor, his worship Councillor Glenn Price.

The main event was a resounding success with over 500 local residents attending, receiving information, advice and support from local support agencies and organisations on a variety of topics relating to mental health. There was also an opportunity to try a range of therapies on the day and information for residents on how to look after their own mental health.

Paul Turner Chairman of the World Mental Health Planning group, said:

“Merthyr Tydfil’s World Mental Health Day 2009 events were, as in previous years, a great success. There were a good variety of stalls from a wide range of backgrounds including both the voluntary and statutory service providers.

The event is something that the people of Merthyr Tydfil can be proud of. The planning group who organised the event are looking forward to next years World Mental Health Day and hope to continue building on the success of the previous years.

We will be looking for volunteers to join the working group for 2010 and would welcome any individuals who have experience, or who care for a person who has experienced mental ill health. If you would like to be a member of the working group please do not hesitate to contact me at the following address: Mr P Turner 9a Gelliwastad Road, Pontypridd, CF37 2BW.

Finally I would like to thank all those who gave their time, energy and commitment to the event to make it such a success.”

The 2009 campaign was organised by the World Mental Health Planning Group, which consists of service users, support services and agencies and community groups and was supported by the Performance Improvement Grant from Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council.


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