Health Secretary Visits Valleys Steps
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport Vaughan Gething AM has met with representatives of Valleys Steps, a project based in Abercynon that aims to help people manage emotional distress by improving emotional literacy and resilience, in a visit organised by Cynon Valley Assembly Member Vikki Howells.
Valleys Steps was established in October 2015 with support from Cwm Taf University Health Board, and delivers courses free of charge on an open access basis from leisure centres, libraries, church halls and community centres within different areas of Cwm Taf.
Local GPs have welcomed Valleys Steps as it provides an alternative to medication and counselling for patients who are seeking to improve their well-being and reduce their stress. It is hoped the scheme will eventually be extended to other parts of Wales.
Vikki Howells AM arranged for Mr Gething AM to visit the project to hear about their good work: initial results in the last year show that the proportion of participants who indicated an increase in their levels of mental well-being – from low to medium or high – after attending a course had more than doubled.
Vikki Howells AM said:-
“I was pleased to be able to arrange for Vaughan Gething to visit Valleys Steps and hear about the way in which they have improved the mental health of people throughout Cwm Taf. This is an important issue year round, but one that is especially vital over the Christmas period when people can feel under greater pressure particularly ahead of ‘Blue Monday’ when bills and credit card statements from seasonal spending start to arrive.
“Many people are seeking an alternative to medication or traditional counselling in order to help improve their mental well-being, and Valley Steps offers just that. The courses are designed to impart information, and offer a ‘take away tool kit’ to help participants improve their emotional health at their own pace. Having heard testimonials from service users I would encourage anyone in Cynon Valley who wants to improve their mental well-being to give Valleys Steps a try”.
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport Vaughan Gething AM said:-
“I was very happy to visit Valley Steps at Vikki Howells’ invitation. Practical help and support in managing mental health is something that carries far too much stigma. Men in particular are still far too reluctant to discuss and seek help for challenges that many of us face in different parts of our lives.
“It’s really important to have local champions like Vikki encouraging people to take up the support on offer. I look forward to a future visit to see for myself what progress Valleys Steps make in helping to improve the well-being of communities across Cynon Valley.”
Felicity Crump, Service Manager at Valleys Steps, said:-
“To have Vikki and Vaughan visit the project was fantastic. They have a thorough understanding of the need for our well-being courses and of how helping people to understand their own stress and the tools they can use to manage that stress is so important in reducing the need for medication further down the line. They were encouraged about our plans to reach out to all sectors of the community and help people access sustainable well-being resources locally.”
Valleys Steps Ltd