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28 August 2013

Rhondda dinner raises £1900 to tackle mental health stigma

Ewan Hilton, Alastair Campbell, Leighton Andrews, Katie Dalton with Time to Change Wales placardEwan Hilton (Gofal Executive Director), Alastair Campbell, Leighton Andrews AM and Katie Dalton (Gofal Public Affairs Manager) supporting Time to Change Wales at the dinner.

TIME TO CHANGE WALES, the national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems in Wales, is set to receive £1900 following a Rhondda fundraising dinner.

The dinner was held to mark ten years since Leighton Andrews’ election as the Assembly Member for the Rhondda. Time to Change Ambassador and former Labour communications director Alastair Campbell was guest speaker at the dinner, which was attended by 200 guests.

The Rhondda AM has supported the Time to Change Wales campaign since its launch in February 2012 and was particularly inspired by the actions of his colleagues Ken Skates, Eluned Parrott, Llyr Huws Gruffydd and David Melding, who spoke out about their own experiences of mental health problems through online blogs, media interviews and a National Assembly debate last November.

Mr Andrews had previously praised their courage and honesty in his Welsh Politician of the Year acceptance speech last December and again recognised their contributions at his anniversary dinner, saying:

"Over the last year one of the most powerful pieces of campaigning I have seen was undertaken by Time to Change Wales, when they got four Assembly Members to talk about their experiences of mental health issues from a personal perspective. It was one of the most moving debates I have ever listened to in the National Assembly."

Alastair Campbell spoke about a range of issues, including his experience of mental health problems. He emphasised the importance of talking openly about mental health, calling Time to Change ‘a fantastic campaign’ and praising the four AMs who shared their experiences. He also warned that failure to talk about mental health will impact on the way people feel, as well as on service provision.

A number of guests showed their support for the campaign by posing for photographs with Time to Change Wales pledge boards, including Institute of Welsh Affairs Director Lee Waters, FSB Head of External Affairs Iestyn Davies, Lord Mervyn Davies of Abersoch, Baroness Eluned Morgan of Ely and Welsh Government Ministers Carl Sargeant, Lesley Griffiths, Ken Skates and Vaughan Gething.

Leighton Andrews AM said:

“Last year I was inspired by the actions of my four Assembly colleagues who showed great courage in speaking out about their experiences of mental health problems.

“Many people in the Rhondda and across the whole of Wales experience mental health problems and it’s important that we all take action to tackle stigma and discrimination.

“As a society we need to talk much more openly about mental health so that people feel comfortable and confident to access help and support when they need it.

“We all have an important part to play and I hope that many more individuals and organisations pledge their support for the Time to Change Wales campaign.”

 Alastair Campbell said:

“I’m extremely proud to be a Time to Change ambassador in England and I was more than happy to help Leighton raise funds and awareness for Time to Change Wales.

“One in four of us will experience mental health problems, so it’s likely that we all have friends, family members or colleagues who are affected by this issue.

“It’s incredibly important that we change people’s attitudes towards mental health by encouraging people to talk openly and dispelling the myths that surround this issue.”

Time to Change Wales Programme Manager Antony Metcalfe said:

“We are delighted that Leighton Andrews has continued to show his support for the Time to Change Wales campaign and thrilled with the response from so many guests at the dinner.

“It is crucial that leaders across politics, business, education and many more sectors help us to tackle stigma and discrimination and we hope to have their support when we launch our organisational pledge later this year.”

View the photos here

Find out more on the Time to Change Wales website

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