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Citizens Advice finds people with mental health problems are being failed when trying to engage with essential everyday services

9 August 2017

Official statistics find that a quarter of people experience mental health problems.

Between February and March 2017, Citizens Advice carried out research  with people affected by mental health conditions to get a sense of the challenges they faced.

The research allowed them to understand what kind of barriers people with mental health problems encountered when trying to go about their everyday business such as contacting their local authority, paying a bill, switching energy provider or signing up to a new mobile phone contract.

Many of the problems experienced are also faced by individuals without a mental health diagnosis, but for those with a mental health diagnosis the barriers at times appear unbeatable, and their mental and physical health can rapidly deteriorate.

Those who took part in the research said they found it very difficult to communicate and often begin to rely more and more on family and friends for help to solve daily problems. When their regular support network is unavailable they rely heavily on the help of support workers and mental health organisations.

Cadfan Roberts, who will be a panel member at a Citizens Advice Cymru discussion on mental health at the National Eisteddfod today, used to be a familiar face on the Welsh language soap opera Pobol y Cwm in the 90s, and has suffered from mental health problems in the past few years.

Having finished in the soap opera, Cadfan moved to north Wales and re-trained as a chimney sweep but had an accident and was unable to bend which  meant he could not carry on working. Unfortunately this was followed by another accident when he chopped off the end of his thumb.

Cadfan Roberts said:

“I was walking to the shop one morning and I ‘flipped’ and that was the beginning of my nervous breakdown. The following months were a complete blur. I did go and see my GP but I do not actually remember any of that.

“When you go through times like this you lose everything including your patience and any self-worth. I lost any interest in managing day to day essentials like paying bills. I got seriously into debt and that had a detrimental effect on my physical as well as my mental health”.

Fran Targett, Director, Citizens Advice Cymru said:

“With one in four people suffering from mental health problems every year we need to do everything we can to help remove the barriers in accessing the support that people need to overcome their problems.

“We believe there is an essential need to raise awareness of the range of advice available so that those in need  know where to get the help they need, especially when going through acute or unwell periods.

“We need to break the silence and tackle mental health stigma and discrimination and look at ways of making these changes”.

The research found a need for more flexibility to be built into all aspects of communicating with people with a mental health diagnosis. Appointments and phone calls need be longer to allow extra time for explanations, questions and also reassurance that there is no time pressure.

Citizens Advice is calling for all customer facing staff to have thorough training on how to recognise those suffering with mental health problems and also how  best to help them.

Additionally, suppliers of essential services who provide face to face services should ensure they have staff who are trained to a high level and provide consistent advice and signposting giving a named person as a point of contact.

The next steps for the research will be explored today as part of a panel discussion at the National Eisteddfod at Societies 2 at 4:30, it will  be chaired by Delyth Jewell from Citizens Advice, with Dr Mair Edwards a Clinical Psychologist, Cadfan Roberts who has suffered with mental health problems and Ian Johnson from Mind Cymru.

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Mae pobl â phroblemau iechyd meddwl yn cael trafferth wrth ddefnyddio gwasanaethau bob dydd hanfodol, yn ôl Cyngor ar Bopeth

Yn ôl ystadegau swyddogol, mae chwarter pobl yn cael profiad o broblemau iechyd meddwl.

Rhwng mis Chwefror a mis Mawrth 2017, cynhaliodd Cyngor ar Bopeth ymchwil gyda phobl sy’n cael eu heffeithio gan gyflyrau iechyd meddwl i gael syniad o’r heriau sy’n eu hwynebu.

Roedd yr ymchwil yn gyfle iddyn nhw ddeall pa fath o rwystrau sy’n wynebu pobl â phroblemau iechyd meddwl wrth iddyn nhw geisio cyflawni gweithgareddau bob dydd megis cysylltu â’u hawdurdod lleol, talu bil, newid cyflenwr ynni neu gael contract ffôn symudol newydd.

Mae llawer o’r problemau hyn yn wynebu unigolion heb ddiagnosis iechyd meddwl hefyd ond, i’r rhai â diagnosis iechyd meddwl, mae’r rhwystrau’n ymddangos yn anorchfygol ar brydiau, a gall eu hiechyd meddyliol a chorfforol waethygu’n gyflym.

Dywedodd y rhai a gymerodd ran yn yr ymchwil eu bod nhw’n ei chael hi’n anodd iawn cyfathrebu a’u bod nhw’n dechrau dibynnu mwy a mwy ar deulu a ffrindiau i helpu i ddatrys problemau bob dydd. Pan nad yw eu rhwydwaith cymorth rheolaidd ar gael, maen nhw’n dibynnu’n helaeth ar help gweithwyr cymorth a sefydliadau iechyd meddwl.

Roedd Cadfan Roberts, a fydd yn aelod o’r panel mewn trafodaeth Cyngor ar Bopeth Cymru ar iechyd meddwl yn yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol heddiw, yn arfer bod yn wyneb cyfarwydd ar Pobol y Cwm yn y 1990au, ac mae wedi dioddef problemau iechyd meddwl dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf.

Ar ôl gorffen gyda Pobol y Cwm, symudodd Cadfan i’r Gogledd i ailhyfforddi fel glanhawr simneiau, ond cafodd ddamwain ac nid oedd yn gallu plygu wedi hynny ac felly ni allai barhau i weithio. Yn anffodus, cafodd ddamwain arall hefyd pan dorrodd ddarn o’i fys bawd i ffwrdd.

Meddai Cadfan Roberts:

“Roeddwn i’n cerdded i’r siop un bore pan wnes i ‘fflipio’, a dyna oedd dechrau fy chwalfa nerfol. Roedd y misoedd a ddilynodd y diwrnod hwnnw yn niwl llwyr. Fe es i i weld fy meddyg teulu, ond dydw i ddim yn cofio dim o hynny.

“Pan rydych chi’n mynd trwy gyfnod fel hyn, rydych chi’n colli popeth, gan gynnwys eich amynedd ac unrhyw hunan-werth. Fe gollais i bob ddiddordeb mewn rheoli hanfodion bob dydd fel talu biliau. Fe es i i ddyled fawr ac fe gafodd hynny effaith andwyol ar fy iechyd corfforol a’m iechyd meddwl”.

Meddai Fran Targett, Cyfarwyddwr, Cyngor ar Bopeth Cymru:

“Gydag un o bob pedwar person yn dioddef o broblemau iechyd meddwl bob blwyddyn, mae angen i ni wneud popeth allwn ni i helpu i ddileu’r rhwystrau o ran cael mynediad at y cymorth sydd ei angen ar bobl i oresgyn eu problemau.

“Credwn fod angen gwirioneddol i godi ymwybyddiaeth o’r cyngor amrywiol sydd ar gael fel bod y rhai mewn angen yn gwybod ble y gallan nhw gael yr help sydd ei angen arnyn nhw, yn enwedig wrth fynd trwy gyfnodau acíwt neu gyfnodau o salwch.

“Mae angen i ni dorri’r distawrwydd a mynd i’r afael â gwahaniaethu a stigma iechyd meddwl ac edrych ar ffyrdd o wneud y newidiadau hyn”.

Yn ôl yr ymchwil, mae angen mwy o hyblygrwydd ym mhob agwedd ar gyfathrebu â phobl â diagnosis iechyd meddwl. Mae angen i apwyntiadau a galwadau ffôn bara’n hirach i alluogi mwy o amser ar gyfer esboniadau, cwestiynau a thawelu meddwl pobl nad oes yna bwysau amser.

Mae Cyngor ar Bopeth yn galw am; staff sy’n ymdrin â chwsmeriaid dderbyn hyfforddiant trylwyr ar sut i adnabod y rhai sy’n dioddef o broblemau iechyd meddwl a’r ffordd orau o’u helpu nhw.

Yn ogystal, dylai cyflenwyr gwasanaethau hanfodol sy’n darparu gwasanaethau wyneb yn wyneb sicrhau bod ganddynt staff sydd wedi’u hyfforddi i lefel uchel a darparu cyngor ac atgyfeiriadau cyson, gan nodi person penodol fel pwynt cyswllt.

Bydd y camau nesaf ar gyfer yr ymchwil yn cael eu harchwilio heddiw fel rhan o drafodaeth panel yn yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yn Cymdeithasau 2 am 4:30. Bydd y panel yn cael ei gadeirio gan Delyth Jewell o Cyngor ar Bopeth, gyda Dr Mair Edwards, Seicolegydd Clinigol, Cadfan Roberts, sydd wedi dioddef o broblemau iechyd meddwl, ac Ian Johnson o Mind Cymru.

-DIWEDD-

Notes to editors

  1. The research was initiated with the primary aim being to obtain an independent perspective on the way in which individuals with a mental health diagnosis engage with essential services.

  2. The core methodology comprised seven extended (two-three hour) focus groups with individuals with a range of mental health diagnoses (46 in total).  In addition, two groups were held with support workers with seven attending in total, and nine in-depth interviews.

  3. All fieldwork was carried out between 6th February 2017 and the 3rd March 2017, with several mental health organisations helping out by allowing attendance at regularly held support groups

  4. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.

  5. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.

  6. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk

  7. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.

  8. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.

  9. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.

Nodiadau i olygyddion

  1. Prif nod yr ymchwil oedd cael safbwynt annibynnol ar y ffordd mae unigolion â diagnosis iechyd meddwl yn ymgysylltu â gwasanaethau hanfodol.

  2. Roedd y fethodoleg graidd yn cynnwys saith grŵp ffocws estynedig (dwy i dair awr) gydag unigolion â phob math o wahanol ddiagnosisau iechyd meddwl (46 i gyd). Yn ogystal, cynhaliwyd dau grŵp gyda gweithwyr cymorth, gyda saith yn bresennol, a naw cyfweliad trylwyr.

  3. Cynhaliwyd yr holl waith maes rhwng 6 Chwefror 2017 a 3 Mawrth 2017, gyda sawl sefydliad iechyd meddwl yn helpu trwy ganiatáu presenoldeb mewn grwpiau cymorth a gynhelir yn rheolaidd.

  4. Mae gwasanaeth Cyngor ar Bopeth yn cynnwys rhwydwaith o swyddfeydd lleol Cyngor ar Bopeth, pob un ohonynt yn elusen annibynnol, gwasanaeth defnyddwyr Cyngor ar Bopeth a’r elusen genedlaethol Cyngor ar Bopeth. Gyda’n gilydd, rydyn ni’n helpu pobl i ddatrys eu problemau ariannol a chyfreithiol a phroblemau eraill trwy ddarparu gwybodaeth a chyngor a thrwy ddylanwadu ar lunwyr polisi. I gael mwy o wybodaeth, ewch i wefan Cyngor ar Bopeth.

  5. Mae’r cyngor a ddarperir gan y gwasanaeth Cyngor ar Bopeth yn annibynnol, yn gyfrinachol, yn ddiduedd ac am ddim, ac mae ar gael i bawb, beth bynnag fo’u hil, rhyw, anabledd, cyfeiriadedd rhywiol, crefydd, oedran neu genedligrwydd.

  6. I gael cyngor ar-lein neu i ddod o hyd i’ch swyddfa leol Cyngor ar Bopeth yng Nghymru a Lloegr, ewch i citizensadvice.org.uk

  7. Gallwch chi gael cyngor gan wasanaeth defnyddwyr Cyngor ar Bopeth ar 03454 04 05 06 neu 03454 04 05 05 ar gyfer siaradwyr Cymraeg.

  8. Rhoddodd swyddfeydd lleol Cyngor ar Bopeth yng Nghymru a Lloegr gyngor i 2.5 miliwn o gleientiaid ar 6.2 miliwn o broblemau yn 2014/15. I weld ystadegau llawn y gwasanaeth, gweler ein cyhoeddiad Advice trends.

  9. Mae staff y gwasanaeth Cyngor ar Bopeth yn cael eu cefnogi gan fwy na 21,000 o wirfoddolwyr cymwys sy’n gweithio mewn dros 2,500 o ganolfannau gwasanaeth ledled Cymru a Lloegr.