Meet the Voices of Mind Cymru

Meet the Voices of Mind Cymru - four volunteers, with lived experience of mental health problems, who are campaigning with us to make mental health a priority in Wales.

Angharad May

On the surface, Angharad always felt she 'appears to be a happy and smiley girl', but in fact she 'hides a plethora of dark secrets'.  For well over a decade, Angharad has struggled with mental health issues such as Anorexia Nervosa, Borderline Personality Disorder with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and self-harm and Body Dysmorphic Disorder all of which make everyday life more than challenging. 

When in physical crisis for her anorexia, she has ended up in hospital every single time with mostly excellent care, but when in mental crisis, the care has been very poor indeed with next to nothing available.  Having been in and out of psychiatric hospital for the last five years and under the community mental health team for even longer, Angharad knows all too well the qualities and shortcomings of the mental health care system and has struggled to access the specialist psychological therapies she needed.

Sarah-Louise Roberts

Sarah-Louise has suffered with Borderline Personality Disorder, clinical depression, drug and alcohol misuse and eating disorders since 1997. She has experienced years of lack of treatment, incorrect medication, resources and compassion.

Sarah-Louise has been declined crisis intervention numerous times during periods of self-harm and suicidal tendencies.

She has rarely been offered adequate support and care and feels that her GP surgery has failed in their duty of care and doctors there have told her to "just get on with it, beat it and deal with it".

On a positive note, she is now actively participating in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and is optimistic that it will contribute to improving her quality of life. She has also received excellent support and understanding from her employer. Sarah-Louise has never received follow up support after a mental health crisis of which there have been many over the last 18 years.

Adrijana Milat

Adrijana, a graduate from the Rhondda Valleys, has struggled with her own mental health for a number of years. Her eating disorder began at the age of 16; primarily bulimia, including periods of starvation and overexercising. It wasn't until the age of 20, at her second year in university that she sought help to deal with this harmful, repetitive behaviour, that she was also diagnosed with severe depression. It wasn't until the age of 22 that she was finally able to control her once noxious relationship with food.

Throughout her battle with depression, she has had access to some talking treatments (counselling, CBT) when living in Oxford, which has had a positive impact on her ability to cope day-to-day. The very nature of mental health is variable and therefore Adrijana is aware that the amount of support required varies. Despite her ability to cope, and the support from family & friends, she is aware of the systematic lack of provision for those suffering with mental health illness. She still suffers with depression, but is more confident in self-managing. She remains hopeful for the future of mental health provision by encouraging people to speak up about their own experiences.

It often takes people a long time to admit to themselves that they have a problem, let alone speak up and seek help for it. There needs to be a system in place ready to accept these people.

James Downs

James has experienced very different crisis care depending on where he has been living. After attempting suicide in Bristol in 2011, he was helped by an excellent, well-structured crisis team, but after moving to Cardiff, he became ineligible for the same services because his prime diagnosis, an eating disorder, did not fit the team's criteria.

Over the years James has often struggled to access the specialist services he needed for his eating disorder - only after six years did he manage to access specialist psychological therapy. The many years he went without support have had a profound impact on his life. 

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