The Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy and the Welsh Conservatives’ Older People’s Champion – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has today (20 January) urged the Welsh Government to adhere to their original vaccination timescales as a means of confronting poor mental health amongst elderly residents.
The intervention came in the form of a question to the Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and the Welsh Language. Commenting on the need to address mental health among the elderly and vulnerable, Janet said:
“My constituency of Aberconwy sits within the Conwy County Borough and has the highest percentage of people aged 65 and over in Wales, with a significant number of residents who have been shielding since last March.
“Since the early days of the pandemic we have known that those aged 70 or older, regardless of medical conditions, are at increased risk from COVID-19. As a result, these vulnerable constituents have largely remained indoors and are often struggling with loneliness, fear and anxiety as a result.
“I am reliably informed by healthcare officials that the demand for mental health treatment among this group has only grown as a result of the recent and necessary public health restrictions, and that this growth in need must be addressed quickly to avoid long-term life-threatening consequences.
“Our single biggest weapon providing assurance to these individuals is a quick vaccination process. But this is certainly not happening here in my constituency of Aberconwy. Worse still is the fact that these people have received no information whatsoever and their anxiety is increasing.
“The Welsh Government must adhere to their original vaccination timescales if they are to address this looming mental health crisis. I have also asked the Minister to ensure that access to loneliness support groups and mental health support services is properly maintained.”