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Police team up with Health Board to combat mental illness

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PC Celt Thomas and mental health practitioner, Edward McHugh: Supported by a team of 11 officers who have received training.

PC Thomas and mental health practitioner, Edward McHugh: Supported
by a team of 11 officers who have received training.ill

DYFED-POWYS POLICE and Hywel Dda University Health Board have joined forces to help people in mental distress over Christmas, and reduce the amount of times police cells are used as places of safety for those waiting to be assessed. A triage service has been operating for the last two weekends, and will also be available this weekend. The service, based in Carmarthen Police HQ is led by PC Celt Thomas and mental health practitioner, Edward McHugh. They are supported by a team of 11 officers who have received training.

The team have access to police and health records, and are able to provide background information to officers so they can provide specific assistance to people who need tailored help. Most information and advice will be provided to officers remotely, via telephone or police radio contact. The service also aims to reduce the use of Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and to provide better signposting and pathways into services for people following incidents. Evidence from the national pathfinder triage pilots show that having a mental health triage service significantly reduces the number of Section 136 detentions.

The practical benefits of mental health triage include access to patient records, information, intelligence, and specialist advice to enable better decision-making at the scene of incidents, a range of tactical options being made available to police officers as alternatives to detentions under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act, proactive signposting and referral to wide range of services and better communication between agencies. Det Superintendent Andy John said: “This isn’t the first time we have worked together to provide this service. Last December, we ran the service for four evenings in December.

“It resulted in providing information and advice to officers in relation to 34 incidents, averting two Section 136 detentions and supporting an elderly couple to remain at home. Without the service, both would almost certainly have been admitted to hospital for different reasons. Referring vulnerable people for additional services and support, including young people, enabling direct admission to residential Mental Health wards. As a result of this, Dyfed Powys Police and Hywel Dda University Health Board agreed to formally pilot the service for a year, and established a Project Board to develop and oversee the pilot.

Karen Howell, Chief Executive (Interim) of Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The street triage service is a fantastic example of prudent healthcare – healthcare that fits the needs and circumstances of patients whilst avoiding wasteful care not to the patients benefit. By working together, different organisations will provide a more timely assessment of a person’s mental health and a more positive experience for the times when they come into contact with a police officer.”

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon, who secured Home Office funding of £90,000 for the new service, said: “I want to help vulnerable people – and this practical and useful service will do that. “This service provides an 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 offers new support to individuals at a time when they’re particularly vulnerable and will help Dyfed- Powys Police and others become more effective on the front line.”

Key partners on the project board include: Dyfed Powys Police; Hywel Dda University Health Board; Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire & Ceredigion Local Authorities; West Wales Action for Mental Health; University of South Wales and the Welsh Ambulance Service The Triage service will be formally evaluated by a postgraduate student of the University of South Wales, who will undertake both a quantitative and qualitative evaluation with service users. The student is also a service user, and has shared her experiences with Project Board member in order to shape and enhance the service.

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Community

Christmas gift fair returns

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Last year at the Food Fair: The annual Christmas celebrations return this year

NEXT Friday (Oct 20), the annual craft and gifts extravaganza will return to Aberystwyth Arts Centre to get the locals in the mood for Christmas.

The Winter Craft & Gift Fair is sure to get visitors feeling festive in the run up to Christmas with over 80 stalls selling a wonderful array of crafts and gifts, many produced by local makers from Ceredigion and mid Wales.

This year will feature many regular stalls, as well as some who will be selling at the fair for the first time, so prepare to discover the unusual and unexpected at this year’s fair with it’s new layout and products for 2017.

The fair will be open from 10am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday and 12 to 5.30pm on Sundays all the way up until December 23.

On Saturday​,​ ​November ​​25, ​the Arts Centre’s Christmas Food Fair will take over the Great Hall for the day. There will be the very best of Welsh produce with cheese, meats, fish, wine, cider, pastries, puddings, jams and much, much more from many local producers. The Food Fair is the perfect place to stock up on a few gastronomic goodies in the run up to Christmas. There will also be live musical entertainment to get you in the Christmassy mood! The fair will be on 10am-4pm and entry is free!

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‘​I​t’s ok to say’

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FUW raise awareness: Urging people to 'say' on World Mental Health Day​

​ON WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, farmers across Wales are being reminded that ‘it’s ok to say’ and the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging them not to hide problems from themselves, their families and friends and to talk about their personal feelings.

The FUW made a commitment at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in July to continue raising awareness of mental health problems in rural communities and is therefore renewing the call for those who might be suffering from mental health problems to seek help.

“The focus of this year’s World Mental Health day is on mental health in the workplace and farms are just that. In our places of work we’ve faced some pretty low-points in the last few years. Bovine TB, price volatility and uncertainty about our future post-Brexit, this all puts a strain on our resolve and will have many feeling stressed and under immense pressure,” said Union President Glyn Roberts​.​

“But we must break the stigma attached to mental health, so if you’re feeling vulnerable, please open-up and speak to someone. That doesn’t just mean today, but always. Farmers and farming families need to continue talking openly about what they are experiencing and the FUW strongly encourages anyone who is worried about their own mental health or a loved-one, to seek help from the Farming Community Network, Tir Dewi, The DPJ Foundation, Mind Cymru or Call Helpline Wales,” added Glyn Roberts.

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Scholarship scheme funds student’s Masters

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One of the chosen few: Stella Foster (Pic. Mark Woodward)

A TALYBONT native is one of just 28 people in the UK to be awarded a scholarship granted by energy company ScottishPower.

Stella Foster, 32, gratefully received the grant from the Scottish Power Foundation for the 2017/18 academic year.

Having just completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of York, Stella will begin her Masters in Environmental Sciences this week at the University of East Anglia. Environmental science degrees integrate biology, physical science and information sciences to examine environmental systems (air, water, etc.) and how they interact.

The sought-after scholarship covers full enrolment costs as well as a living allowance. On top of this, the scholars will receive unique opportunities including meeting leading industry professionals.

“Travelling around the world and living in China before I started my undergraduate studies made me aware of the astounding change of pace in urbanisation; the two-hour bus ride from where I lived to Shanghai, there wasn’t a moment where you couldn’t see a construction site,” Stella said.

“This fast and dramatic development creates issues with the environment, and I’m really excited to learn about the creative and fascinating solutions out there, and hopefully come up with some of my own,” she added.

Since it was launched in 2010, the ScottishPower Foundation scholarships programme has provided £1.5m in grants towards training the next generation in their chosen field.

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