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Written Statement - Publication of the First Annual Report into the Delivery of Services for the Emotional Health and Wellbeing of Children and Young People

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Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Health and Social Services

‘Everybody’s Business’ (2001) is our strategy for supporting children and young people with emotional wellbeing and mental health needs.  In 2010 we published ‘Breaking the Barriers: Meeting the Challenges’, an action plan setting out how we will work with our partners to achieve the strategic goals in ‘Everybody’s Business’.  It outlines a range of commitments and specific actions required to meet ‘Everybody’s Business’, including a commitment to prepare an annual report, for the Minister for Health and Social Services, outlining progress towards implementing the Action Plan. 

The multi-agency group tasked with overseeing the delivery of the Action Plan has now completed its first comprehensive report and I am pleased to accept it.  I have decided to make it widely available by publishing it on the mental health pages of the Welsh Government website.  The report provides an overview of developments which have taken place over the last 18 months.  It portrays improving services, the development of many positive actions and widespread partnership working across sectors.  I commend the report to Assembly Members and would encourage you all to see the effect our work has had on improving the services for many of our vulnerable people.

However, much work still remains to be done and there are many areas where we now wish to focus our attention, for instance, in relation to bridging the transition between adolescent and adult services.  The adoption of the Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010, will help us address this, though tragic incidents in the last year have highlighted the need for us to work harder in meeting the needs of teenagers as they move into their adult life.  This is a difficult period in any young person’s life, with a multitude of pressures around exams, careers and relationships.  These pressures are compounded for those with pre-existing emotional health and wellbeing issues.

It is a decade since we published ‘Everybody’s Business’ and its ‘sister’ strategy for adult mental health services ‘Adult Mental Health Services for Wales: Equity, Empowerment, Effectiveness, Efficiency’.  These were products of their time and reflected Welsh needs in the early part of this Century.  It is now time for change and a new approach.  That is why I have decided to produce a new ‘all ages’ strategy for mental health and emotional wellbeing. 

This will build on the good work we have accomplished to date across both children’s and adult services.  It will recognise that any one of us, at any time, could experience problems which require the help and support of our health services and their partners.  It will ensure the appropriate support and assistance is in place to identify and address problems from the very earliest of ages, providing the springboard for the individual to experience a successful childhood, teenage and adult life.  It will recognise the additional needs of older people, building on our work in the field of dementia and elsewhere.  In between these two ends of our lifespan it will close the gaps in provision so that people are not lost in the system. 

This work is in hand and, with our partners, we will implement this new approach in 2012.