Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services
Improving mental health and well-being is a priority for the Welsh Government as set out in our National Strategy – Prosperity for All. This strategy challenges the whole of Government to consider its impact on mental health across everything it does - recognising that improving the mental health and well-being of our population cannot be achieved by health services alone.
To support this cross-Government and multiagency approach, Welsh Government published Together for Mental Health in October 2012. The 10 year strategy includes support for people of all ages across Wales. It seeks to improve the mental well-being of the population and deliver targeted support and interventions for those with acute mental ill health needs.
The strategy is supported by three year delivery plans which set out the key actions to be taken over the period. Today I am launching the consultation on the Together for Mental Health Delivery Plan for 2019-2022. This plan builds on previous delivery plans and refocuses Welsh Government priorities for the final phase of our 10 year strategy.
Whilst the delivery plan outlines a number of new priority areas, these all contribute to achieving the high level outcomes set out in Together for Mental Health. Some of the proposed actions represent a necessary continuation and investment in services, whilst others are intended to drive a step change in activity to prevent poor mental health.
The plan builds on progress that has been made in:
- reducing stigma and raising awareness of mental health issues
- reducing mental health hospital admissions as a result of more support in the community and,
- significantly reducing the number of children and young people waiting longer than four weeks to access support.
It is important to note that this progress has been made in the context of an increase in demand for services.
The proposed priorities for the next three years have been shaped by a number of National Assembly Committee reports, vital input from those with lived experience of mental health issues and wider engagement with key stakeholders. The priority areas set out in the plan include:
- maintaining mental health and well-being;
- improving access to support for the emotional and mental health well-being of children and young people,
- improving crisis and out of hours care,
- improving access to psychological therapies and
- improving access to perinatal mental health services.
In addition there are a number of overarching work streams which will continue beyond 2022. These include work to improve data, outcomes, changes to legislation and access to Welsh language services as well as to develop a sustainable workforce.
Welsh Government continues to spend more on mental health services than on any other part of the Welsh NHS. I have increased the mental health ring fence to £679m for 2019-20 including additional investment in key areas such as the development of perinatal community mental health services and children’s mental health services. We have also provided £1.4m of funding via the Regional Partnership Boards to build regional capacity to improve access to low level intervention and prevention activities for children and young people.
Last year I published A Healthier Wales: Our Plan for Health and Social Care, setting out my long term vision of a whole system approach to health and social care and introducing four Quadruple Aims to underpin how we want the system to develop. I am confident that this delivery plan engages those Quadruple Aims and serves as a challenge to improve mental health for individuals and families in Wales. The causes and effects of poor mental health are complex and meeting this challenge will require an integrated, cross government and cross sector partnership approach.
I look forward to considering the responses to the consultation.
The consultation can be viewed via the following link: