Janet Finch-Saunders MS – the Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – has today (19 November) said that there must be greater efficiency in patients receiving mental health treatment, care, and support, following new research which reveals the potential mental health legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wales.
Researchers at Cardiff and Swansea Universities have spoken to more than 13,000 people to assess the impact of the pandemic on mental health in Wales. Their study shows that around half of the participants showed ‘clinically significant’ psychological distress, with around 20 per cent reporting severe effects. Their paper, The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental wellbeing and psychological distress: impact upon a single country, has been published in the Frontiers in Psychiatry journal.
Commenting, Janet said:
“This new research, which has revealed a large decrease in wellbeing from pre-COVID-19 levels, shows the concerning mental impact that Coronavirus restrictions have had on residents of Wales, especially younger people. This mental health legacy has the potential to compound our current health crisis if swift action is not taken.
“Taken in conjunction with another study, which revealed that family carers for children and adults with intellectual disabilities have reported rates of mental health problems under lockdown that are up to 10 times higher than parents without those responsibilities, then the true scale of the issue in Wales should alarm all those who hold office.
“I urge the Welsh Government to build on their recent investment announcement, by committing to providing long-term consistent support from a named key worker, equipping such services to offer support remotely via phone or online. Serious symptoms of anxiety and depression must not go unaddressed, with more detail needed on Welsh Government plans to shape support services in the immediate term.
“Our nation’s unpaid family carers have felt a very particular strain throughout this period, that can only be addressed through targeted support and rest bite offerings. This is why I am also calling for more respite provision to be continued through any future lockdowns, with guaranteed access to peer support groups as necessary.”
Notes to Editors:
- For details on the Mental Health study in Wales, click here.
- For details of Swansea University’s study on informal carers, click here.
- For Janet’s recent work on mental health, click here.
Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS