Awyr Las | Blue Sky



I CAN is a new campaign to improve the support available to people with mental health problems in North Wales.

What is I CAN?

I CAN is a new campaign to improve the support available to people with mental health problems in North Wales.

I CAN is rooted in local communities and led by a coalition of people who are passionate about achieving real and meaningful change for people affected by mental ill health. I CAN is being steered by people with lived experience of mental health problems, people working and volunteering in mental health services and those involved in local mental health charities.

Why I CAN?

People who are Independent, Contributing, Active and Networked enjoy better mental health and wellbeing and have more resilience to deal with life’s challenges. This grassroots campaign will empower people who are struggling with their mental health to have their voices heard - and listened to - and provide the opportunities to enable them to thrive, so they too can say “I Can”.

Why is I CAN important?

Not every illness is visible. The 2017 North Wales Population Needs Assessment estimates that around 93,000 people aged 16 and over have a common mental health problem. Forecasts suggest this number will increase to 99,000 by 2035.

  • 1 in 4 adults experience mental health problems or illness at some point during their lifetime (Mind, 2016)
  • There has been a steep rise in the number of young people who are self-harming
  • 53% of Welsh women suffer from low level mental health problems
  • 1 in 16 people over 65, and 1 in 6 over the age of 80, will be affected by dementia
  • Self-harm results in approximately 6,000 emergency admissions to hospitals in Wales every year
  • 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination
  • People living with enduring mental illnesses die up to 20 years younger than the average population

The numbers say it all: mental health problems have the potential to affect each and every one of us, and their impact (as well as the associated stigma) can be devastating. Despite their prevalence, research suggests a high number of people with mental health problems do not seek help. This means people miss out on getting important support early on, and can sometimes find themselves in a crisis situation and unsure where to turn.

What is I CAN going to do?

The I CAN campaign will complement some of the exciting plans that are being developed by the NHS in North Wales, local authorities and third sector providers to improve the support available to people experiencing a mental health crisis. Activities and events aimed at schools, communities and workplaces will be designed to help raise awareness, tackle stigma, and encourage open conversations about mental health.

The money raised will support projects that:

  • Help young people develop the emotional resilience to deal with life’s challenges
  • Provide effective early intervention for people experiencing mental health problems
  • Help people who are ‘just about managing’ their mental health to thrive
  • Provide better support closer to home for people experiencing a mental health crisis

The money raised will fund important added extras that go above and beyond what the NHS is able to provide. The money raised will be distributed in the form of Awyr Las grants. Three diverse panels of people will be responsible for setting priorities, assessing applications for grants and allocating all funds given through the campaign. These panels cover North West Wales, Central North Wales, and North East Wales. They will include representatives from the health service, local authorities, the third sector and people with lived experience of mental health problems.

How can I get involved in I CAN?

Please stand with us and say “I CAN make a difference for people experiencing mental health problems”.

1. Donate

You can text I CAN to 70500 to donate £10 now to support the I CAN campaign. Your donation will help ensure that people who experience mental health crises can access local support when they need it most.

You can also:

  • Donate your birthday to the I CAN campaign on Facebook – where instead of presents, you can ask your friends and family to donate to the I CAN campaign.
  • Set up a fundraising page linked to the I CAN JustGiving Campaign, where you can do your own challenge to raise money for I CAN.
  • Get involved in other events and activities to help raise money

2. Become an I CAN Champion

Wherever you’re from and whatever your experience, there’s a part for you to play in I CAN. For information on how you can make a difference for people experiencing mental health problems, sign up to keep in touch with Awyr Las and let us know you want to hear more about I CAN. Be sure to join the Facebook group, too!

3. Encourage your local school, business or community group to take part

From doing a sponsored skipathon in the playground to displaying I CAN posters in the office; there are so many ways to get your school, workplace or community group involved. Contact the Awyr Las Support Team for more information.

Awyr Las, which means ‘Blue Sky’ in Welsh, is your North Wales NHS Charity. Awyr Las helps ensure that patients and their families benefit from better NHS services when they need it the most.
Our charity makes a real difference to the lives of patients and their families because its priorities are decided by frontline nursing and medical staff. The money given through Awyr Las goes over and above what the NHS can provide; it doesn’t replace statutory funding.
Through Awyr Las you can give directly to any ward, department or community health service in North Wales. Lovely supporters of Awyr Las help to fund: state-of-the-art equipment and new facilities; extra staff training and world class research; special projects and additional services; complementary therapies and extra patient comforts.
Since 2010 the charity has funded over £23m of improvements to healthcare services. Wow!

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