Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones has set out his five year plan for Wales – and a greater focus on mental health provision is one of his key priorities.
The Welsh Government has committed to improving access to talking therapies in its newly announced programme for government for 2016-21.
The programme, announced today at the Senedd, will also see Welsh Government prioritise “mental health treatment, support, prevention and de-escalation”.
The announcement follows Mind Cymru’s Welsh Assembly Election campaign in May which called upon the next Welsh Government to improve primary care, crisis care and access to talking therapies.
Sara Moseley, Director of Mind Cymru, said: “We welcome the First Minister’s announcement of a greater focus on mental health in Wales.
“We are particularly pleased to see that mental health treatment and support is being prioritised and extended, including a renewed commitment to end stigma.
“We are also glad to see that training for GPs and other primary healthcare professionals is being treated as a priority. We know that more than 80% of people first come into contact with mental health services through their GP, so this frontline training is vital to ensure people get the right support from the very beginning of their journey.
“We want to see better care and support for people with mental health problems, including better access to talking therapies wherever they live in Wales. It is vitally important that people get the help they need before they reach crisis point.
“For those in crisis, we want more investment in alternative places of safety. Welsh Government needs to ensure that anyone who needs crisis care has access to it on a 24/7 basis, no matter where they turn to for help or where they live.
“We want to see every Health Board in Wales prioritising improvement in mental health provision in the same way they do physical health issues.”
“Spending on mental health is currently around 11% of the total health budget in Wales. However, mental health need is closer to 20%. We want to see that change as part of this greater prioritization.”