As we approach the Senedd election on 6 May, all parties in Wales are ramping up their campaign efforts. This election is a crucial opportunity to influence mental health policy and support in Wales for the next five years, and the more candidates hear from us about mental health, the more likely it is to be a priority.
There may be online hosting events in which you can quiz each of your local candidates on issues important to you, many of them will be campaigning on social media, and there will also be the traditional face-to-face chats on your doorstep. We’ve come up with five questions about mental health you could ask them if you get the chance:
1. Wales’ 10 year mental health strategy, Together for Mental Health, comes to an end in 2022. Good mental health is about so much more than good mental health services. How will you and your party ensure mental health is a priority across all areas of government in the next Senedd term?
2. Some people have been impacted more by coronavirus than others, such as people from racialized communities, women and people living in poverty. How will you and your party address inequalities in mental health?
3. During the pandemic, 74% of young people with existing mental health problems have said their mental health is worse, and nearly 1 in 3 have reported self-harming to cope. How will your party address the growing crisis in young people’s mental health and meet the demand for support?
4. Experiencing a mental health crisis is a distressing experience and over the four years to 2018, there was a 17% increase in the number of referrals to crisis teams across Wales. Will you and your party commit to ensuring everybody has safe and speedy access to quality care when they need it, including crisis care 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
5. A Mind Cymru survey of GPs in Wales carried out in 2018 found that mental health now accounts for 40% of all GP appointments and due to the pandemic there is widespread agreement that there will be an increase in the numbers of people seeking help. How will you and your party ensure timely access to a range of support for those who need it?
For more information on what we’re asking of the next Welsh Government, read our manifesto.
To join the fight for mental health, become a campaigner.