Urgent review required to improve young people’s access to mental health support

The Welsh Conservatives’ Shadow Minister for Children and Young People – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has today (1 July) spoken of her dismay at the ‘lack of leadership’ by Welsh Government over young people’s access to mental health support.

Recent figures suggest that only 43% of children and young people in Wales would be confident getting help form a mental health team, and 39% from school counselling services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen an increased strain on young people’s mental health, with the Welsh Children’s Commissioner recently writing about how children and young people have seen changes which questions their human rights.

Speaking of the situation, Janet said:

“Access to the correct mental health support should be a simple and smooth process for our young people. It cannot be right, therefore, that less than half of children in Wales would be confident of accessing help from a mental health team.

“Over recent years, we have seen two Welsh health boards dispute their responsibility for the mental health needs of a young person. The Welsh Government are letting our children down with their lack of leadership on this issue.

“Mark Drakeford's administration must urgently review whether our Regional Partnership Boards have been correctly prioritising the integration of services for children with complex needs, as is required by law.

“Given the extra strain placed on our young people’s mental health by the Welsh Government’s arbitrary COVID-19 restrictions over recent weeks, an independent inquiry should also be established so as to properly consider whether their implementation adhered to human rights legislation in Wales.”