Christopher Salmon column: Issue of mental health should be discussed!

THE issue of mental health should be discussed openly and frankly — even if it’s something you feel uncomfortable about.

That’s why one of my colleagues attended a Llanelli event this month to help advise townsfolk on the matter.

The gathering, at the 5 Ty’s Green in Station Road, was organised by town centre-based charity Turning Point Cymru.

It followed a week of its supporters offering door-to-door guidance on issues such as mental health and substance abuse.

Mental health impacts on our communities, on those who keep our neighbourhoods safe and on those who are vulnerable.

The good news is that there’s support available. For example, Llanelli Mind —based in Thomas Street — offers an activity programme and services such as a drop-in facility.

The organisation also offers a befriending service for Carmarthenshire. If you don’t know about them, Google them today!

Elsewhere in the county this summer, I held a series of meetings in a community café which operates to help people with learning difficulties. Those preparing and serving food and drinks at iSmooth, Ammanford, know they have a real purpose in the community.

I’m also excited about some new help I’ll soon introduce. This will take the form of two specially equipped vehicles staffed by police officers and with facilities for mental health nurses.

The units will help those in mental distress when involved in an incident. Police, often first on the scene at an incident, now occasionally have no choice but to take the person into custody until health treatment can be provided.

For a number of reasons, police cells are regularly used for those suffering with potentially traumatic episodes. This is the innovative alternative; it will provide the most appropriate service to people in mental distress at the earliest opportunity — and will save time and money for the police, ambulance and health services.

It’s vital that you are aware of the support available in matters such as mental health. Early intervention can save lives so please be aware of the signs.

A positive first step is to discuss these matters openly and frankly — do it!

Source: Llanelli Star Newspaper