Hafal Expert Leadership Panel (HELP)

Group type: 3. Institution or initiative-specific

Contact details

Named contact: Christine Wilson

Email address:

Telephone: 01792 816 600



Gellinudd Hospital

Lon Catwg





Remit of the group

The group has a wide remit to:

  • Comment on and seek to influence national mental health issues
  • Contribute to the development of training materials, and where relevant deliver training sessions, talks and presentations
  • Offer consultancy to managers within organisations who want to know the best ways to respond to mental health issues/processes
  • Work with the media whether through providing copy or speaking directly to the media, or being involved in producing up-to-date and relevant case studies
  • Act as Lay Reviewers of services – Many organisations undertake regular reviews of their services and the Expert Leadership Panel are involved with external organisations to inform and be part of the review processes
  • Undertake Research and Service Evaluations, working with existing research groups, to advance service user and carer involvement in all aspects of the research and evaluation process
  • Excellence & Innovation – Leadership in any field is about promoting excellence and innovating in areas of chosen expertise. The expert leadership panel will seek to identify excellence and innovation and disseminate these to inspire and lead in the field of mental health.

The group is currently writing research funding applications and articles for publication (such as for the national media/self-help guides etc.), and are assisting with the baseline evaluation of Hafal’s Recovery Centre. They are also involved in providing external training to health and social care organisations in Wales, to Hafal staff and to other people with a lived experience, their family and carers.

Frequency of meetings

Rotating meetings in North, South and Mid Wales the group meet every 8 weeks or sooner depending on the nature of the projects they are working on. Some members meet face-to-face while others are in regular contact with the group via email and/or facetime. The group recognises that it is not always necessary to meet face-to-face to achieve their aims but regular attendance is encouraged.

Who can consult the group?

Anyone with any interest in mental health research can contact the group. Partnership working is actively encouraged.

Website – main Hafal website.


HELP Members have a number of publications between them and presented at this year’s (2014) World Health Organisation Congress on Mental Health in Lille, France. Below is an example of some of the publications/presentations they share between them:

Tyson T, Llewellyn P, Wilson, et. al. (2014) How to promote empowerment experiences of mental health services users and carers in Europe, Priority Setting in Research, 4th International meeting of the WHO Collaborating Centre for research and training in public Health,30th and 31st January 2014, Lille France.

Wilson C, Llewellyn P, Moskowitz H, (2011) Guest Editorial, Consumer, Involvement in Health and Social Care: Dividing Fact from Fiction, International Journal of Consumer Studies, Special Issue, 35, 6.

Torrance C, & Wilson C, (2010) Editorial: Consumer, user and carer involvement in health and social care, International Journal of Consumer Studies, 34, (5), 493-494.

Thomas P, Wilson C, Jones P, (2010) Strengthening the voice of mental health service users and carers in Wales: a focus group study to inform future policy, International Journal of Consumer Studies, 34, (5), 525-531.

Wilson C, Fothergill A, Rees H, (2010). A Potential Model for the First All Wales Mental Health User and Carer Led Research Group. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 17, (1) 31-38.

Wilson C, & Mansell I, (2010). Access to health and social care information and services: experiences of family and informal carers’ of people with a learning disability, Learning Disability Practice, 13, (5), 33 -37.

Mansell I, & Wilson C, (2010). ‘It terrifies me, the thought of the future’: listening to the current concerns of informal carers of people with a learning disability, Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 14, (1), 21-31.

Mansell I, & Wilson C, (2009). Current perceptions of respite care: experiences of family and informal carers’ of people with a learning disability, Journal of Intellectual Disabilities 13 (4), 255-267.

Wilson C, Kenkre J, Bale S, Harris L, (2009). A Ward Manager’s Toolkit for Service User Engagement, Nursing Management, 16, (7), 30-34.

More about the group (optional)

HELP was established to take forward the important work of a number of Hafal initiatives, principally a Comic Relief funded Expert Patient Project and the WCVA funded Making A  Difference Project.   In summary HELP’s aim is to create “a pool” of talented “service user and carer leaders” or “expert patients” who can actively take forward the user and carer agenda.