Services in the North facing 10% cut with mental health worst hit – Plaid AM
More talking therapies and extra funding for child and adolescent mental health services are needed if we are to give people with mental health problems the support they need, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Rhun ap Iorwerth has said.
Rhun ap Iorwerth said that the stigma that surrounds mental health was one of the biggest problems that society needs to overcome.
In an Assembly debate (1), he will also highlight an increase in waiting times for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS), noting that the young people waiting more than 16 weeks for an appointment has increased more than doubled in the last 3 years.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Rhun ap Iorwerth said:
“One of the biggest challenges we need to overcome as a society is to overcome the stigma that surrounds mental health problems. One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, and 13% of adults are currently being treated for a mental health problem. There is a role for all of us in being more aware of mental health problems, and being willing to talk.
“We also know that waiting times for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) are too long. The number of young people waiting more than 16 weeks for an appointment has shot up from around 400 a month in the summer of 2013 to over 1000 each month throughout 2016.
“Improving the mental health and well-being of young people must be moved up the political agenda. Of course, investing in better support for schools to help safeguard the mental health of teenagers is the starting point. But we also need to look at developing more talking therapies across the board, and we need to work more closely with the health service to develop earlier interventions when problems occur.”
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, said that political support for mental health issues were at variance with the financial pressures facing this “Cinderella service”. He added:
“Everyone here recognises how important improving mental health services are but the reality is that the largest health board in Wales – Betsi Cadwaladr – is facing a £106m aggregate deficit over the past three years. In April 2017 that means that the board will have to make good that deficit, which could mean a 10% cut in funding for services.
“The board’s own minutes reveal that 27 budget managers were refusing to sign off their accounts as a result. It’s perhaps telling that the majority of these were in the field of mental health and learning disabilities, the Cinderella service for so long.
“If we’re serious about tackling mental health for young people and adults alike, we have to recognise that the current level of service isn’t good enough and needs sustained investment not the cuts it’s currently facing.”
NDM6115 Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn):
To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:
- Regrets that prejudice towards those who have, or have had, mental health problems continues, and the impact this can have on employment, income and well-being for those with mental health problems.
- Believes that education about mental health should start at a young age and schools should be equipped to promote well-being amongst all pupils.
- Calls on the Welsh Government to:
- a) continue to tackle prejudice and to seek powers over employment law so that protections for people with mental health problems at work can be strengthened; and
- b) ensure that all public services examine ways in which their own practices can be improved to contribute towards better mental health.