Member of the Welsh Parliament for Monmouth, Nick Ramsay, this week in the Senedd asked a supplementary question of Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing & Welsh Language about the plans the Welsh Government has to assist people suffering with anxiety post lockdown.
Addressing Eluned Morgan MS, Nick said: “Minister, it's likely, as you've just hinted at, that we're going to see an increase in the number of people needing community mental health support for those suffering anxiety and depression, as one of the significant public health consequences of the pandemic, and it looks like that could go on for a considerable length of time, and at considerable cost. Can I ask you, what discussions have you had with the vice-chairs of local health boards across Wales or, indeed, with the health Minister, liaising with those health boards, those who are responsible for community mental health and primary care, to ensure that local NHS services are going to get the focus they need? Because clearly they've not just been under strain during this pandemic, they're going to be under strain for some considerable time to come trying to cope with the aftermath of this challenging time.”
The Minister replied: “Thank you Nick. Certainly, that community mental health support is absolutely critical, and I think that it is important that we try and give that support, as far as possible, as close to home as possible, because, generally speaking, mental health support is not something you can just fix once, you have to have an ongoing relationship; you have to keep working on it. And that's why actually giving that support in the community is much more valuable, and that's certainly what we're trying to do.
“I've met with the vice-chairs now on a couple of occasions since I was appointed to this role, and I've made it absolutely clear to them of the direction of travel that I would like to see things going: One is that we need to really divert more money into tier zero support, so that early—early—support, so that we don't see these problems developing and becoming more complex and more difficult for us to treat. So, early help is absolutely critical. And the second thing is that we really need to divert more money into supporting children and young people as a proportion of the budget. So, those are the two messages that I've made absolutely clearly to the vice-chairs, as well as, of course, underlying their responsibilities to make sure that all of these services are available through the medium of Welsh.”