Happy New Year from the Mental Health Wales team!

2012 promises to be an important year for mental health in Wales and we’ll be here to deliver all the essential news and information to you.

The biggest milestone of 2012 will be the implementation of the Mental Health (Wales) Measure.

The Mental Health Measure gives vital new rights to service users which could greatly enhance their opportunities for recovery. At the heart of the Measure is a significant new right for users of secondary mental health services to a comprehensive Care and Treatment Plan covering: accommodation; education and training; finance and money; medical and other forms of treatment, including psychological interventions; parenting or caring relationships; personal care and physical well-being; social, cultural and spiritual; and work and occupation. This means that service users will now have the opportunity to take a holistic approach to their recovery and set goals in all areas of their lives.

This key new right is backed up by new rights to advocacy for all in-patients, not just those subject to the Mental Health Act; a right for those discharged from services to reaccess services in a timely way; and by a requirement for Health and Social Services to agree a standard for services at primary care.

Will mental health services simply pay lip service to the new law or will there be a sea change in service delivery, with a new focus on delivering individuals’ care plans? And will the resources needed to deliver the Measure be made available?

Voluntary sector organisations in Wales have said they will fight for the Measure’s full and proper implementation. Mass membership organisations Hafal and Bipolar UK will be working on a campaign with the Mental Health Foundation this summer to promote positive delivery of the Measure. We’ll keep you up-to-date.

Other key issues which Mental Health Wales will be reporting in 2012:

·         The Welsh Government will be consulting on its new Strategy for mental health early in the year: Mental Health Wales will examine and report on the new approach.

·         Claimants in receipt of Incapacity Benefit will continue to be migrated to the new Employment Support Allowance benefit – a process which began in spring 2011 and is due to be completed in 2014. We’ll keep you posted on the latest issues facing people with mental illness.

·         “Time to Change”, a three-year anti-discrimination campaign run in partnership by mental health charities Gofal, Hafal and Mind Cymru, will be launched. This campaign, led by people with a mental illness and their families, will involve service users delivering a direct message about discrimination to their local communities backed up by national publicity. Keep checking Mental Health Wales for more information.

·         A study published in 2011 found that only 1 in 10 prisoners with psychosis are receiving treatment for their illnesses in prison, suggesting that the UK Government’s plans to divert people with mental health problems away from the criminal justice system are not working. We’ll keep you up to date with progress on criminal justice issues in 2012.

If you’d like to receive regular Mental Health Wales E-bulletins or if you would like to receive a hard copy of our quarterly journal please email us at editor@mentalhealthwales.net