‘Time for a focus on mental health'– Kirsty Williams AM

October 8, 2014 3:04 PM

Kirsty conference stageKirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has called for the Welsh Labour Government to do more to support people in Wales suffering from mental health.

In his Conference speech, Nick Clegg is expected to announce that people with depression should begin "talking therapy" treatments within 18 weeks, from April. Young people with psychosis for the first time will be seen within 14 days - the same target as cancer patients.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for a greater focus on mental health in the Welsh NHS. The party revealed earlier this year that the number of vulnerable young people in Wales waiting more than 14 weeks to access child and adolescent psychiatric services has almost quadrupled, from 199 in January 2013 to 736 in January 2014.

Kirsty Williams AM said:

"It is absolute right that Nick Clegg is raising this important issue in England, yet we need the same kind of focus here in Wales too.

"It's wrong that someone needing a operation can expect treatment within a clear timeframe, while a person with a mental health condition has no clarity about when they will get help.

"It's almost a decade on since the Children's Commissioner first warned that Children & Adolescent Mental Health Services provision was in 'crisis across Wales'. Yet many child health experts assert that this is still the case today.

"One in ten children will experience a mental health issue. Waiting lists in Wales are far too long, there is a lack of investment and focus on early intervention and still too many young people are inappropriately placed on adult mental health wards.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats want a constructive debate about how we can improve services in Wales, to ensure that young people receive the support they need. Sadly the Welsh Labour Government is determined to bury its head in the sand and ignore the catalogue of concerns and warnings that young people in Wales are being put at risk."

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