Aberavon AM, David Rees, has highlighted the needs of those suffering from Mental illness. In a speech in the Senedd on Tuesday (12/6/12) David welcomed the ring-fencing of the metal Healthcare budget and highlighted the importance of tackling the stigma and discrimination that many people with mental health issues face. His comments came as the Welsh Government’s Mental Health Strategy, ‘Together for Mental Health’, which is currently out for public consultation was debated in the Senedd.

David Rees AM said:
‘Barely a day goes by where we do not hear of jobs being lost. Tragically, that means the livelihoods of thousands of families endangered; the security of thousands of homes at risk; the self-respect of thousands of people left in limbo. This will take a toll on many people’s mental health.’

‘Mental health is not just a matter of private misfortune; its pernicious effects reach to families, communities, society and the economy. Together for Mental Health sets out the Welsh Government’s ambitions for improving mental health and our vision for 21st century mental health services. The strategy highlights early intervention and a cross government approach to this issue which will take account of the bigger picture.’

David Rees AM added:
‘Tragically, many of those who experience mental ill-health often face discrimination and stigma: People with mental health problems currently have the lowest employment rate of any disabled group. This could be one reason that as many as two-thirds of people who have mental illness don’t seek treatment. That’s why I’m especially pleased that in this strategy we reiterate our commitment to reduce the stigma and discrimination experienced by people with mental health problems’

‘I’m pleased to say that the initial views of the Wales Alliance for Mental Health (WAMH) have welcomed the outcome focussed approach of the strategy and its cross government rather than solely Health focused nature.’

There has already been success in the past in Aberavon and it is hoped that the new strategy will provide more opportunities for improvement. In response to the Welsh Assembly Government target to provide hospital mental health liaison, existing services have now been enhanced. This includes the addition of a Community Psychiatric Nurse post and Clinical Psychologist in the Neath Port Talbot service with early indications that there has been a reduction in admissions and earlier discharge from hospital.