The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for urgent action as a Welsh Government report has revealed the shortfalls of Wales’ mental health services.
The report, which reviews inequalities of access to health services for those with disabilities, finds shortcomings in many areas of Welsh mental health services. It highlights, among other concerns:
- a lack of specific mental health training for healthcare staff;
- that spending on mental health services isn’t keeping pace with the expected increase in prevalence of mental health conditions
- that 23% of all suicides in Wales were ‘patient suicides’ who’d made contact with the NHS within 12 months of their death;
- that there is still widespread misinformation and stigma attached to mental health conditions which prevents treatment being sought, in particular among men
- an imbalance of suicide rates between men and women, with male depression under-reported within the Welsh NHS
Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
“As I was reading this damning report, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I just don’t understand how Labour Ministers have allowed our mental health services to deteriorate to this point.
“Labour’s own targets for reducing suicide rates have been missed. The provision of specially trained mental health staff is ‘sporadic’. Spending on mental health services isn’t keeping pace with an increase in demand. Labour’s catalogue of failures on mental health is quite simply shocking.
“Welsh Liberal Democrats have put mental health front and centre of our plan for the NHS because Labour’s grave failings that affect so many of us cannot be allowed to continue. We can, and must, do better than this.
“Until anyone with mental ill health can seek and get treatment without delay or fear of discrimination, we will not have parity of esteem with physical health within our NHS. That is the ambition that Welsh Lib Dems have for mental health services in Wales.”