The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for mental health to be given parity of emphasis with physical health in the Welsh NHS.
In their Welsh Assembly debate this week, the party will outline simple steps to improve the quality of mental health services in Wales, particularly for young people.
As a first step, Welsh Liberal Democrats in government would enshrine parity of esteem between mental and physical health on the face of future legislation. The Minister for Health would then report annually to the Assembly on progress towards the goal of parity between mental and physical health.
In Wales, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and all mental health hospital services aren’t subject to the same rigorous ‘referral to treatment’ time targets as other NHS services.
Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
“Mental health is something we don’t talk about often enough. There’s so much stigma attached to mental health problems, and that’s why it’s important we do all we can to get these services right.
“It’s been over 10 years since the Children’s Commissioner described Welsh youth mental health services as being in ‘crisis’, yet we’ve seen little improvement since then. Children are being put on adult mental health wards, shoved on medication when all they need is a talking therapy, and in some cases having to wait over 40 weeks just to start treatment.
“Liberal Democrats in Government have made mental health a priority, by investing record amounts in mental health services and legislating to ensure parity of esteem with physical health. We want to bring some of this ambition to Wales during our debate this week.”