Time to Change Wales – It’s Time to Talk
Time to Change Wales, the first national campaign to end stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems, has posted a series of blogs in which people talk about their experiences of having a mental health condition.
The fact that it’s sometimes difficult to talk about mental health problems can be one of the hardest parts of having a mental illness. To support people to talk about their mental health, people are posting blogs about their experiences of having a mental health problem on the Time to Change Wales website.
Here’s an excerpt from a blog by Llyr Huws Gruffyd AM, one of four Assembly Members, who has contributed:
Just talking about my illness helped lift some of the weight off my shoulders. But that talking was carefully restricted to the community mental health team and my wife. Even today most of my friends and family have no idea that I had been ill. Many will probably find out by reading this article. Most of all, my parents didn’t know either. It is this very article that has finally given me the courage to tell them about my illness. I don’t want them to be shocked, I don’t want them to be sad, and I certainly don’t want them to feel guilty in any way – I was ill, but now I’m better.
I want everyone to know that I am better because that will tell others with mental illness that they too can get better. I don’t want people to suffer in silence because they think it’s somehow unacceptable to be mentally ill. You’re not alone. One in four is a lot of people. It could be five or six players in your local rugby squad, 160 of the MP’s in Westminster or 15 out of our 60 Assembly Members in Cardiff Bay.
To read the blogs visit www.timetochangewales.org.uk/blog.
MHRNC Annual Scientific Conference – March 2013
Mental Health Research Network Cymru (MHRNC) is holding its annual scientific conference at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Wrexham on 7 March 2013. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Mental Health and Well-Being in Times of Trouble’.
As part of the conference MHRNC are holding a peer reviewed poster competition aimed at mental health research based in Wales and you can submit your poster in either of two categories – ‘New Research Ideas’ or ‘Research Findings’.
MHRNC are also inviting people to submit their artwork on the theme of ‘Hope’. The top 12 pieces will be displayed at the conference, and judged, with the top three receiving prizes.
For more information about the conference, poster and art competitions and how to register visit www.mhrnc.org/conference.htm.
Chief Executive for NHS Wales supports NCMH Research
NCMH Director, Professor Nick Craddock met with David Sissling, Chief Executive of NHS Wales, to talk about National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH), its research and how it can best work with the NHS in Wales.
The NCMH is aiming to recruit 6000 people in Wales, who have experienced a mental health problem, to take part in research by joining the Wales Mental Health Network (WMHN). To help do this NCMH is working with NHS services and professionals throughout Wales, and asking them to talk to their patients about opportunities for being involved in its mental health research.
Professor Nick Craddock says: “To have David’s support is fantastic as the relationship between NHS services and research is vital. Patients who are willing and able to give their time to take part in mental health research are invaluable, as it’s only with their contribution and help that we can better understand the causes and triggers of mental illness. In turn the new knowledge we gain from research can help improve the diagnosis, treatment and support provided by mental health services in the future.
So far over 800 people have joined the WMHN, but we need more people to help us. NHS services and professionals play a key role in achieving this.”
The NCMH wants to work with partners throughout Wales to encourage and support people to take part in its research. If you’re a patient, carer, health professional or member of a related voluntary organisation, and have ideas about how we can reach more people who would be interested in participating in research, or if you would like to volunteer to take part, please contact us on 029 2074 4392 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Another step forward’ in Alzheimer’s disease research
Researchers at Cardiff University have helped discover a rare genetic mutation which increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The research team has been working on an international study into Alzheimer’s disease with researchers from across the world, led by UCL’s Institute of Neurology. They have discovered that an error on a gene in the immune system called TREM2 can increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. While this mutation is extremely rare, affecting just 0.3% of the population, it increases the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease by roughly three-fold – more than any of the genes that have been linked to the disease in the last 20 years.
This discovery provides valuable new information about the potential causes of Alzheimer’s disease and could help to develop new treatments for the condition in the future. Funders for the study included Alzheimer’s Research UK, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.
Professor Julie Williams from Cardiff University, and member of the research team says: “It’s another step forward. This research builds on earlier findings which implicates the immune system as playing a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. What’s especially exciting, is now we know what the error is in this specific gene, it provides us with an obvious target for future therapies and preventions.”
Celebrating success as Wales reaches 10,000 Mental Health First Aiders
Mind Cymru is celebrating the success of the Mental Health First Aid (Wales) course, as the number of people trained reached 10,000 in November 2012.
This means that 10,000 people are able to provide initial help to anyone experiencing a mental health problem at home, at work or out and about in the community in everyday life, making a real difference to the people of Wales.
People often feel unsure what to do when they think that someone might have a mental health problem and worry about saying something wrong. Mental Health First Aid (Wales) trains people in how to spot the signs that someone may be experiencing a mental health problem and how to provide initial help and support.
The course focuses on practical skills, developing people’s confidence to ask someone about their mental health and what to do next. Research carried out last year by the University of Glamorgan found that 96% of people felt confident or better prepared to help a person experiencing a mental health problem after the course.
The Mental Health First Aid (Wales) scheme is supported by Welsh Government who are keen to see many more people trained across Wales. The course supports a number of priority areas for the Welsh Government, including improving health at work.
Mental Health First Aid (Wales) Project Manager, Claire Foster, said: “We’re delighted that Wales now has 10,000 Mental Health First Aiders able to provide initial help and support to anyone they think might be experiencing a mental health problem.
“Mental health problems, especially stress, anxiety and depression, are incredibly common. We know that one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any one year. The good news is that people can and do recover from mental health problems but the earlier people get help the better. Mental Health First Aid can be a vital part of this. It’s a course that anyone can do and it focuses on the practical skills and information that people need.
“Our Mental Health First Aiders come from all sections of the community – from voluntary groups to those working with young people, from faith groups to the police and GP receptionists. Businesses like Airbus and Tata Steel have also trained employees and are already seeing the benefits.
“We’d like to thank every one of the 10,000 people who have trained so far and also to congratulate our Mental Health First Aid instructors who are doing such a great job. We hope they go on to train another 10,000 people in the coming years!”
For more information on Mental Health First Aid (Wales) and to find out about courses available in your area, visit www.mhfa-wales.org.uk.
Professor Nick Craddock, Director of the NCMH, has spoken of his support: “This a very welcome initiative. It is important that those in severe mental distress get the same recognition and help from others as is usual for those in severe physical distress.”