Young people with mental health issues sail nearly 600 miles across Wales

Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

A group of young adults with mental health issues have completed a three-week voyage from North to South Wales.

It was part of an experiment into 'adventure therapy' as a way to support young people and their mental health. The group were joined by nurses and charity workers on board the ship.

The young people battled seasickness and stormy weather but landed in Cardiff Bay with smiles on their faces.

Jessie Aves came from London to take part. He said seeing the dolphins, the night sky and stars helped take his mind off things.

the amount of miles the group have sailed.
Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

A lot of psychosis and a lot of mental health issues are to do with an inability to deal with stress in their everyday lives. So putting young, vulnerable people in difficult situations and helping them deal with those emotions gives them an idea that they're able to come away from this experience with a really much greater understanding and greater knowledge of their own strength.

– Daniel Bartlett, Hafal

Grace Britten from Barry took part in the voyage. She said it has made her feel "a lot happier and energised" with a more "positive outlook on life".

Grace Britten has enjoyed taking part in the voyage. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Hamza Nazzal was also on board. The 22-year-old from Cardiff said he is proud of himself for completing the journey.

At the beginning it was rough, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it till the end but I ended up bonding quite well with the people there and it was really, really nice...

I managed to steer the ship quite a bit so that was nice and I got a certificate as well.

– Hamza Nazzal
Hamza Nazzal said he felt worried before the voyage. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales
Adam Williams said sailing has made him feel more confident. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Consultant clinical psychologist Mike Jackson helped organise the trip.

Normally with mental health care we are preoccupied with trying to reduce people's symptoms and keep them safe and that's important but people need opportunities to grow and move forward in their lives though new experiences, through dealing with difficulties, through teamwork... So this has felt like a huge leap away from normal mental health practice.

– Mike Jackson
Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Next year, they hope to organise a sailing trip around the UK with groups from all over Britain.