Issue 15

MIND Cymru User Participation Project

Mind Cymru is carrying out a project which will help to recommend to the universities in Wales how service users can be involved in the training of mental health nurses.

As part of that project, myself, Lindy Miller, Manager for Participation and Inclusion, Mind Cymru, and Mick Fisher, Health Professions Wales, came to Caswell Clinic on 14th July 2005- which was a very hot and humid day -and were delighted to meet with 12 participants from Caswell, all people who had used mental health services, and who were willing to spend the day in a focus group looking at the issues around the whole process of training mental health nurses in Wales.

The morning was more about information -a presentation from Anne Fothergill, University of Glamorgan, showed how a curriculum is developed, and the various elements involved in training, and she also demonstrated examples of where users have already been involved in that process at the University. Then, Nigel, the mental health student nurse placement who is based at Caswell gave an informative talk about how positive his experience had been at Caswell, and how much it had helped to raise his understanding, especially about issues for people who have to spend time in a secure unit. There was an excellent lunch for all, many thanks to Caswell Clinic for arranging that! !

After lunch, it was time to start the main part of the focus group. Myself and Mick asked 12 specific questions about what people wanted from their mental health nurses; about how people felt they could be involved in the training -for example -and this was a very focussed but creative part of the day. The participants came up with some very good ideas about involvement, and taking on board the restrictions of being in a secure unit, still came up with excellent ideas for how they could get involved. It was a wonderful experience for us and all the participants from Caswell Clinic said they had felt valued, and felt really good about their contributions. There was abuzz in the air! !

We also came to Caswell on the 20th July 2005 to meet with some individuals who had not been able to take part in the group -and very many thanks to those individuals, and to everyone who took part, you have given us much to think about, and have contributed immensely to the report. This focus group was part of a series of focus groups which are taking place in Wales, and there will be a draft report being sent to everyone who got involved, with another shorter focus group being held in mid October to agree the recommendations.

As a final reminder to all who were involved, all comments and discussions were made in strictest confidence, as explained at the beginning of the day—and you can be assured that although your hard work will help to shape the final report, you can remain as anonymous as you wish! ! Thank you so much to everyone at Caswell, including the staff, who made the two days such a valuable and rewarding experience. We were treated with the utmost generosity, and as always, I look forward to coming back to Caswell Clinic in the future.

Lindy Miller, Manager for Participation and Inclusion Mind Cymru