Date Published: 3 February 2010

Mental Health Foundation to hold South Wales' first self-management course for people with a long-term mental health diagnosis

Mental Health issues - UK

The Mental Health Foundation is holding South Wales' first self-management training course for people with a long-term mental health diagnosis in the Canton area of Cardiff this month.

The course will give 15 people with a psychiatric diagnosis living in and around Cardiff the opportunity to learn self-management tools and techniques. A two-day workshop is followed by six half-day sessions over two months. Course members are then supported to form a peer-support group where people will continue to get encouragement from others in similar situations and practice the skills they've learned.

The Cardiff course is the second of 34 self-management courses that will eventually run throughout Wales for people with a range of mental health diagnoses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and the first to be run in South Wales.

Liz (not her real name), 37, from Cardiff, who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia, attended a pilot self-management course in 2009. She believes self-management techniques have helped her to improve her quality of life. She said:

" I used to feel quite overwhelmed by the day-to-day business of looking after myself and lived in fear of people coming round to visit. Sitting in chaos, having no clean dishes, or food in the fridge exasperates your condition and is very depressing. Since I went on the self-management course everything feels more peaceful, I can relax more which is helping the anxiety and depression.

I've tried to change things in the past so I wasn't expecting the course to help as much as it did. It helps you find your own solutions, it gave me ideas and possibilities and allowed me to see I could develop. It's given me whole new ways of looking at problems, and has also helped me to start eating a little bit more healthily.?

Jane Wycherley, Project Manager for the Foundation, said:

" We're really pleased to be launching our first South Wales self-management course in Cardiff. We'll be running courses throughout Wales this year which will give people the skills that can help them to take control of the symptoms of their illness and improve the quality of their lives."

What is self-management ?

Self-management is already commonly used by people with chronic physical health problems such as diabetes and arthritis, and equips people with a set of tools and techniques that can bring about a number of benefits for those who use them, including:

  • Feeling in control of the symptoms of an illness
  • Increased feelings of confidence
  • Healthier lifestyles
  • Improved relationships with health professionals.

The Mental Health Foundation self-management project

The four-year Wales based project is the first of its size in the UK and will work to train 900 people with a range of severe mental health problems self-management skills. A total of 34 courses will run in venues across Wales, with six of those being held in Welsh. The first course was held in Anglesey on the 3rd February.

The training courses have been designed and developed in consultation with people with a psychiatric diagnosis, and will be delivered by individuals who have experience of living with mental illness.

The Mental Health Foundation has commissioned MDF - the Bipolar Organisation to delivery 24 of their self-management courses to people with bipolar disorder.

Through the courses, the Mental Health Foundation will gather information that aims to show how effective self-management can be for people living with serious mental health illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is hoped that the evidence gathered during the research programme will lead to self-management being provided to people with a severe mental illness across the UK.

The Mental Health Foundation, which has its Wales office in Newport, South Wales, was awarded more than £800,000 by the Big Lottery Fund's £15 million Mental Health Matters programme to fund to project.


Source: Mental Health Foundation, UK.

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