Round table meeting Wales, 22 September 2018

“It’s an enormous privilege to work with older clients and to enable them to tell their stories.”

This comment at our meeting in Cardiff was universally recognised by members who work with older people.

Wales has the oldest and most rapidly ageing population in the UK. The physical and emotional wellbeing of older people is often further challenged by the rural and isolated locations in which they live, making it difficult for them to reach or be reached by valuable services.

The meeting focused on how we can work together to identify and overcome barriers to older people accessing therapy in Wales. The picture that emerged through discussions is a complex one involving stigma and deep-rooted beliefs about mental health and reluctance amongst some older people to ask for help, as well as reduced provision of services that previously reached into isolated rural communities, but that have vanished with funding cuts.

Our take-home message from the day is that action is needed to better define and explain counselling to older people. Using familiar and trusted networks and voices to convey the value of talking therapies and extending choice is essential.

We're very grateful to everyone who attended and look forward to developing these ideas in support of the work of members in Wales.

Notes from our Older people round table meeting in September 2018 (pdf 0.6MB)

Jeremy Bacon, Older People lead