After a week where both physical and mental health issues have played a big part of our voluntary work in Prestatyn. I am proud that in 2019 Artisans Collective will be part of the ‘I Can’ campaign. To help improve health and wellbeing support available to people across North Wales.
Why do I want to be involved?
Because our daily community involvement brings us into contact with lots of citizens living with health and wellbeing issues. Personally I believe that being part of the ‘ICAN’ initiative will help us help others.
In the past week, I have openly spoken to people living with anxiety, stress, depression, loneliness, PTSD, seasonal affective disorder, sleep disorders, parkinson’s and dementia. Plus lots more without realising I guess.
I am no expert, nor do I wish to be. But one thing I think we are good at is raising awareness. Also being part of a community hub enables people to come and talk and maybe to be signposted to professional help.
- 1 in 4 adults experience mental health problems or illness at some point during their lifetime (Mind, 2016).
- There has been a steep rise in the number of young people who are self-harming.
- 53% of Welsh women suffer from low level mental health problems.
- 1 in 16 people over 65, and 1 in 6 over the age of 80, will be affected by dementia.
- Self-harm results in approximately 6,000 emergency admissions to hospitals in Wales every year.
- 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination
- People living with enduring mental illnesses die up to 20 years younger than the average population.
The numbers say it all: mental health problems have the potential to affect each and every one of us, and their impact (as well as the associated stigma) can be devastating.
Why I CAN?
People who are Independent, Contributing, Active and Networked enjoy better mental wellbeing and health. And have more resilience to deal with life’s challenges. This grassroots campaign will empower people. Who are struggling with their mental health to have their voices heard – and listened to – and provide the opportunities to enable them to thrive. So they too can say “I Can”.
Despite their prevalence, research suggests a high number of people with mental health problems do not seek help. This means people miss out on getting important support early on, and can sometimes find themselves in a crisis situation and unsure where to turn.
The ‘I CAN’ campaign. Aims to raise awareness, tackle stigma, and encourage open conversations.
About ‘ICAN’ and Mental Health awareness.
Money raised through the campaign will help fund community projects which provide support closer to home for people experiencing a mental health crisis, As well as schools based programmes and improved early intervention.
It is being led by a coalition which includes Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, NHS charity Awyr Las, third sector organisations such as Artisans Collective. Also people with lived experience of mental health problems.
The 2017 North Wales Population Needs Assessment estimates that around 93,000 people aged 16 and over have a common mental health problem. Forecasts suggest that number will increase to 99,000 by 2035.
Lesley Singleton, Director of Partnerships for Mental Health & Learning Disabilities at BCUHB, said: “Too often, people are afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health.
This fear of prejudice and judgement can stop them from getting help in a timely way. Which further exacerbates their problems.
“Through the I CAN campaign we want to build resilience within communities by supporting people to look after their own mental wellbeing and encouraging open conversations.”
Supporters of ICAN
The campaign has received the backing of a number of organisations. Including Caniad, which represents people who have a lived experience of mental health problems and their carers. Caniad Chair Stephen Beach, from Ruthin, is a carer for somebody with mental wellbeing problems.
He said: “This long term project is much needed and the funds that are raised to support local communities will make a huge difference.”
Another carer, Peter Williams, from Kinmel Bay, said. “I’m supporting the I CAN campaign because it’s important to highlight mental health issues. It’s important that the message reaches rural areas where stigma around mental health is still an issue.”
Find out more about ‘ICAN’
Donations given to support the campaign will be ring fenced for local mental health projects by the North Wales NHS Charity, Awyr Las.
Kirsty Thomson, Head of Fundraising at Awyr Las, said. “Despite the prevalence of mental health problems and a growing understanding of their impact.
Only a small percentage of donations to NHS charities are given specifically for mental health projects. With other areas of healthcare far better supported.
“We hope that people across North Wales will get behind this new and exciting campaign. Which has the potential to make a huge difference to local people living with mental health problems.”