As part of its campaigning topromote choice and quality in treatments for mental illness, Welsh mentalhealth charity Hafal has launched a new guide to treatments designed to giveservice users and carers key information on both psychological therapies andmedications.
Hafal’s 2014 treatments campaignis supported by Bipolar UK, Diverse Cymru and the Mental Health Foundation and aims toempower people with a serious mental illness in Wales and their carers to have their say on the services they receive – and to makean informed choice about their care and treatment.
The new guide includes an overview of thefull range of treatments for serious mental illness including:
· In-depth psychotherapy
· Cognitive BehaviouralTherapy (CBT) and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)
· Mood Stabilizers
Hafal’s Deputy Chief ExecutiveAlun Thomas said: “People will have undoubtedly heard much about our Let’s Get Physical! 2014 campaign which promoted physical health for serviceusers and carers and was an example of our campaigning for a holistic approachto recovery.
“But we are also awarethat direct treatments matter too – and we need to give these treatments duefocus.
“So we have worked withservice users and carers to produce a guide which gives a straightforwardoverview of the psychological and medical treatments available to people with aserious mental illness – and provides key tips to users and carers on how tonegotiate with services the best possible package of treatments. Hopefully itwill also serve as a useful tool for professionals when they come to discussoptions with their patients.”
Service user KarenO’Callaghan said: “The patient shouldbe able to make a choice about the treatment they receive. They should haveinformation about all the available treatments and the way forward should be ajoint decision between the patient and doctor. The new guide will help patientsto make informed decisions – I hope it gets used by a lot of people!”
Service user Peter May said: “Most people with a serious mental illnesswill be offered medication. But both medicationand psychologicaltherapiescanplay important roles in directly treating mentalillness. We want psychological therapies to be more available to people with aserious mental illness in Wales. There should be a priority for psychologicaltherapies to be available to people who experience a psychotic illness and whoare in greatest need.”
Service user Lee McCabe said: “If you’re not happy with your medication or if itis having some major side-effects, you should bring it up when you have yourmedication review or come to review your care plan. You should have theopportunity to try a different medication – and to find the medication thatbest suits you. I was put on a different antipsychotic medication and that madea vast difference – both in reducing the paranoia and in being able to achievemy goal of going into employment. Up until then the side-effects of my medicationwere horrendous, whereas with the new medication the side-effects weren’t sobad.”
Carer Norma Chapelle said: “If medication is having an adverse affect on the person you lookafter it is your duty as a carer to speak up. Don’t worry about being wronglyseen as interfering. If mental health professionals, service users and carerswork as a team we can ensure service users get the right medication.”