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#IPledge2Talk about male suicide, says Eluned Morgan – will you too?

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Eluned Morgan AM pictured with Marc Tierney, Labour Candidate for South Pembrokeshire; Carys Jones, Trustee at The DPJ Foundation and former Welsh footballer, Neville Southall at the recent event in Cardiff Bay to launch the #IPledge2Talk campaign.

EACH year, more than 300 people die by suicide in Wales. In 2017, 278 of the 360 lives lost were male.

It’s a shocking statistic which has prompted Eluned Morgan to champion a new approach to encouraging men, especially in rural Wales to seek support.

Working with mental health charities across Mid and West Wales including The DPJ Foundation in Pembrokeshire, Eluned is focussing on building community resilience to end the stigma of poor mental health.

Data shows that men are less likely than women to seek help or to express depressive or suicidal thoughts. The causes of suicide are always desperately complex. According to Eluned Morgan, this undeniable trend in male suicide must be confronted, beginning with a move to challenge views surrounding mental health, so that it becomes a topic we can all talk about.

The #IPledge2Talk social media campaign is designed to do just that, by encouraging people to reach out and to open up about their feelings.

Championed by Assembly Member, Eluned Morgan and legendary Welsh footballer, Neville Southall, the movement endeavours to foster an openness in seeking support and to give people more confidence to intervene if they are concerned about someone being at risk.
At the heart of this drive is a pledge card, a resource developed by Mind, whose initiative came about in response to growing concerns over suicide rates.

Speaking on this important issue, Eluned Morgan AM said: “Every suicide is a tragedy. It is important to remember that there are many suicide attempts for each death. As we heard during the launch, the impact on families, friends and communities is devastating and far-reaching. But we can and must do more to prevent those deaths.

#IPledge2Talk campaign Pledge card

The launch of the #IPledge2Talk movement is about empowering individuals to seek support and to educate the wider community that just some simple words of encouragement can go a long way in helping someone to manage their mental health crisis. Help is available, we can all make sure it is accessible to those who need it.”

Ex-Everton and Wales Football Keeper, Neville Southall said: “These pledges are fantastic. They should be on every tractor, taxi, bus and train to help make talking about mental health issues the norm. There are support services all over Wales, shining a light for those who need it. But having the confidence to seek help isn’t always easy. The #IPledge2Talk campaign is about how we can all play out part to help those who need it, to get the support they need and deserve.”

Carys Jones, who attended the event on behalf of The DPJ Foundation said: “Thank you to Eluned Morgan for highlighting the work that is being undertaken in Wales with regards to raising awareness of suicide and its causes. We at the DPJ Foundation welcome any initiative that encourages men to talk about mental health issues and it helps to have fantastic advocates like Neville Southall on-board to spread the word.”

The #IPledge2Talk campaign launched at an event in the Senedd last Monday, 1st April 2019. You can get involved by visiting the website ipledge2talk.wales and by sharing your own pledge on social media using the hash tag.

It’s up to all of us to start talking – and to keep talking.

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SirGâredig – Sharing Carmarthenshire’s Kindness

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RESIDENTS and businesses across Carmarthenshire are showing remarkable community spirit by helping and supporting those in need in their communities during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The council has been overwhelmed by the kindness of residents’ during this extraordinary time when supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities is more important than ever.

A number of voluntary groups have been set up to help wherever they can, offering both practical and emotional support – and it is truly amazing to see.

Now we want to help bring all this together and share the good work that is taking place across the county.

SirGâredig – Sharing Carmarthenshire’s Kindness will connect people in need, with those that can help. It will provide a focal point for community activities and encourage people to share stories of kindness.

SirGâredig is a play on words – Sir Gâr being the colloquial term for Sir Gaerfyrddin (Carmarthenshire) and Caredig, the Welsh word for ‘kind’.

Our website has lots of helpful information on the various support groups that have been set up and how you can become a volunteer. Town and community councils are also co-ordinating volunteers in their areas and working closely with local groups. There is also information on what else you can do to help, for example, staying connected with family and friends, and looking out for your neighbours, particularly the vulnerable who may be targeted by criminals. We can also signpost people in need to the right support and information.

Council Leader Emlyn Dole said: “We know there are a huge number of people who are already volunteering and many more who want to help their communities. It has been heartening to see and we are incredibly grateful.

“Now more than ever we need to do all we can to help people in need, particularly older and vulnerable people in our communities. A large number of people are in a lengthy period of isolation at home which leaves them unable to carry out tasks and errands for themselves. And those who are able to, can contribute in a way which makes a real difference.

“SirGâredig is about helping people to help each other, as we all get through this together. So, if you want to help please get in touch; and if you need help or support in any way please contact us so we can help to arrange it for you.

“We also want to hear from you if you have positive stories to share, if someone has shown you kindness during this difficult time. Let’s applaud them, give our thanks and show our sense of community and solidarity during this challenging time.”

Visit newsroom.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/sirgaredig for more information or call 01267 234567 if you would like to speak to someone.

If you have an act of kindness you would like to share, please tweet us @CarmsCouncil using the hashtag #SirGaredig or post on our Facebook page @CarmarthenshireCC

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Man issued with two COVID-19 fines in 24 hours as police thank those following new legislation

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A man has been issued with two fines in 24 hours for flouting Coronavirus legislation, as police thank those who are following the new rules.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers in Carmarthenshire stopped the 22-year-old from Llanelli twice for being out of the house without a reasonable excuse.

A report was made on April 1 that three men were breaching the COVID-19 legislation by gathering in Llanstephan. A woman who had attempted to film the men reported that they had stolen her phone and driven away.

Officers quickly linked the car to a suspect and traced it driving towards Carmarthen and then Llanelli, and a roads policing unit was directed to the area.

The car was stopped, and the two occupants – a 22-year-old from Llanelli, and a 18-year-old from Carmarthen – were arrested on suspicion of theft. They were also both issued with tickets for COVID-19 offences.

T/Chief Inspector Tom Sharville said: “We are taking the new legislation seriously, and would like to thank the majority of people who are staying home to keep others safe.

“The measures are difficult to adapt to, but it is important that we stay at home to save lives.

“However, there is a minority out there who are under the impression the legislation does not apply to them, and are flouting the law.

“This was the second fine one of these men was issued with in 24 hours, after he showed a clear disregard for all guidelines.”

The men were arrested on suspicion of theft of a mobile phone, and were released under investigation pending further enquiries.

For information about the COVID-19 legislation, and answers to many frequently asked questions, visit https://bit.ly/DPPCovid19

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Housing support for residents

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SPECIALIST housing support and advice is available to residents in Carmarthenshire who are worried about the coronavirus crisis.

This is an extremely difficult time for residents, and we want to help as much as possible, whether you are a homeowner, a council tenant or a tenant in privately rented accommodation.

We can also help if you are currently homeless or ‘sofa-surfing’ between properties, or maybe you are a key worker and you can’t return home because someone vulnerable lives there.

Whatever your situation, our specialist advice team can provide you with a range of housing options to help you.

It is very important we stay at home at present, and we understand that this can difficult for some.

Please contact us for advice if you are:

• Currently homeless
• Sofa-surfing between different properties
• Can no longer remain at your current home
• Living in a private property and can’t pay the rent
• Having difficulties paying your mortgage
• Work for the NHS, social care or are a key worker that can’t return home because someone vulnerable lives there

Our housing advisors could help to resolve your current issues or find you somewhere temporary and safe to live.

We have already contacted a number of our tenants to see if we can help. If you are experiencing difficulties with your rent, please contact your housing officer directly so they can discuss with you what support is available. All of our officers can be reached by telephone and email.

We are working closely with a number of partner agencies such as Shelter Cymru and are also looking at what we, as a council, can put in place to help residents.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “We know that this is a very worrying time for residents, especially when you have a home and family to look after and are concerned about making ends meet.

“However, I want to reassure you that we will do all we can to help you during this difficult time. Making sure that you feel secure in your home is very important.

“Our housing officers will provide as much support as they can and if our council tenants have any concerns about keeping up with payments, please get in touch so we can help explore all of the options available to you.

“I want to reassure our council tenants that they will not lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.”

Please call our housing advice team on 01554 899389, Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, or email SCHOptions@carmarthenshire.gov.uk. Outside normal office hours Delta Wellbeing provides an emergency service on 0300 333 2222.

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