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Assembly Members reveal mental health problems to help ‘end stigma’

November 28, 2012

Time to Change Wales

Time to Change Wales

AMs from all four parties have spoken of experiencing mental health problems in a series of highly personal blog posts ahead of a landmark debate in the Senedd today which calls on the Welsh Government to acknowledge the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.

Eluned Parrott AM, Ken Skates AM, David Melding AM and Llyr Huws Gruffydd AM have written about periods of mental ill health in blog entries on the Time to Change Wales website. Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Welsh Government and Comic Relief, Time to Change Wales is the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems in Wales.

Read excerpts from their blogs below:

From blog by Ken Skates AM:

I recall with vivid clarity my first encounter with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It came during a very formal wine reception in Matriculation week at Cambridge University. The feelings, sensations, panicked response and subsequent recovery were things I’d become familiar with over the next decade, until talking therapy gave me the firm foundations needed to live life again, rather than just exist in constant worry.

Time to Change programme manager Cath Lindley with Eluned Parrott, AM

Time to Change programme manager Cath Lindley with Eluned Parrott, AM

From blog written by David Melding AM, Deputy Presiding Officer of the National Assembly:

Many of you might well think my career choice a little odd. After all politicians are supposed to be bright, breezy and confident people. Actually I have rarely found my public role the most challenging part of life even when ill. Interacting with people was usually a tonic and reduced some of my symptoms of anxiety. Speaking in the Senedd was a lot tougher- but even that I managed without obvious difficulty. Yet I experienced little ease of living and the strain and exhaustion never left me. One positive outcome of my experiences of mental distress has been the sense of mission it has given me to raise these issues in the Assembly.

From blog written by Eluned Parrott AM:When I returned to work after maternity leave, I didn’t tell my employer about my illness because I was afraid that it would affect my career prospects. Inevitably, I felt under huge pressure to perform as I always had at work, and not being able to be open about my illness undoubtedly made that pressure worse. I felt as if I was being torn in two – not doing enough at work and not doing enough at home either. Eventually I decided to tell my boss, and discuss ways in which we could change my working life to take the pressure off. I have never regretted doing so, and it made things a lot more manageable while I was putting my life back together.

From blog written by Llyr Gruffydd AM:

Even today most of my friends and family have no idea that I had been ill. Many will probably find out by reading this article. Most of all, my parents didn’t know either. It is this very article that has finally given me the courage to tell them about my illness. I don’t want them to be shocked, I don’t want them to be sad, and I certainly don’t want them to feel guilty in any way – I was ill, but now I’m better.

To read the blogs in full visit http://www.timetochangewales.org.uk/

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2012 12:08 am

    Fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this informative post. It’s very helpful.

  2. January 27, 2013 7:57 pm

    What a great thing for them to do 🙂

    • January 28, 2013 8:56 am

      Thanks for your comment. Time to Change Wales is doing a great job of reversing some of the stigma associated with mental ill health. Best wishes

  3. February 27, 2013 12:13 pm

    Now I am ready to do my breakfast, when having my breakfast coming again to read more news.

  4. April 18, 2013 11:28 pm

    Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look
    of your web site is excellent, let alone the content!

    • April 23, 2013 4:52 pm

      Thank you very much. We have been blogging for over a year and we are very proud of the stories and the people who make this page what it is. It’s a great way for us to highlight the true impact of National Lottery funding and how the money touches the lives of so many different people.

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