Better rehabilitation for the mentally ill in Wales
By Liz Lockhart
Lord Carlile of Berriew explains why he hopes the mental health charity he helped to set up in Powys 10 years ago can be extended across Wales. This article was reported in WalesOnline.co.uk yesterday.
Lord Carlile was the Liberal MP for Montgomeryshire between 1983 and 1997, he also helped to create the charity Rekindle, which is based in Newtown, Powys.
‘What brought us together was the experience of coping with mental illness within our own families and closest friends,’ Lord Carlile said.
‘What united us was the belief that while acute services for mental illness were quite sound, there was very little provided to help bridge the gap between recovery from the acute phase and leading an everyday life outside acute care.’
‘Rekindle celebrated 10 years of success with a reception in the House of Lords which, as one of its founding trustees, I hosted.’
‘Needed as it was 10 years ago, changes in NHS structure and provision suggest an increasing requirement for its resources today and in the future.’
‘Take Megan, for example: She had been referred with multiple difficulties by a health visitor and was helped by Rekindle to move from despair into a local, structured volunteering project.’ Lord Carlile went on to say ‘Within weeks Megan has rediscovered her autonomy and the power to control her own life.’
‘For others, Rekindle has helped them to restore the ability to shop, clean, exercise and keep employment and medical appointments.’ Lord Carlile also said that these may be basic steps for most people but they can be a gaping chasm for those who have suffered mental illness.
‘At root is the belief of all involved in Rekindle that it should always be assumed recovery is frequent from mental illness of many kinds. There are many obstacles faced during the recovery process and Rekindle’s philosophy and programmes are designed to remove them.’
Rekindle’s resource centre is a former trade union office in Newtown where the charity has developed its work to include ‘Small Steps’ which is an early intervention project.
Small Steps provides much needed early support for young adults for whom there is no local system of early intervention. The project has worked well in rural Mid-Wales and Rekindle would like to develop its work on a wider front.
The hope of all involved is that in the next 10 years Rekindle will be able to spread its model beyond Mid-Wales.
I live and work in Wales and I welcome this news. It appears to me that Wales needs facilities of this kind and they are sadly lacking.