21st June issue

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 Inspiration fix

Don’t curb your enthusiasm!

 THE ENTHUSIASM AT THE WELSH SERVICE USERS’ CONFERENCE(page 12) was infectious and refreshing, particularly in this climate of real and impending cuts. It was a reminder of what’s working for many people – and that includes some economically sound decisions on best treatment options. Chris Campbell, founder of the user group SMUG, could have taken the prize for sheer exuberance, encouraging people to be proud of their progress and applaud peers for life-changing achievements, and it was a reminder of the valuable momentum service user networks can build up. Just as impressive was the central role the Welsh Assembly Government played, invited by the service users who put together the programme. They were willing to talk about difficult issues such as waiting times and took part in the entire day, answering whatever thorny questions were thrown at them. And there was plenty of practical advice, particularly for families and carers on contributing to recovery. Adfam’s Oliver French examines other ways to capitalise on family support on page 11. From groups with a growing profile, to a population that has little visibility away from the frontline. Tony Wright (page 6) gives insight into the massive changes faced by ex-service personnel when they try to readjust to civilian life. That veterans should become homeless rough sleepers or end up in prison is a depressing enough fact – add a layer of drug and alcohol problems and you have a toxic mix of trauma and depression that makes them highly unlikely to contact services of their own volition. We owe much to these members of our community to make sure they can engage with the right support services. And on the subject of appropriate support, Ursula Brown uses evidence from the Alliance’s helpline (page 10) to highlight the need for us all to take a stand against the discrimination that all too many people with a script, or a substance misuse problem in their history, experience when trying to enter the world of paid employment.

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