Wales on the brink of a mental health emergency

The people of Wales are taking a stand as two thirds of the population claim their mental health has worsened in response to the pandemic. Mind Cymru campaigners are calling this a mental health emergency and demand Members of the Senedd recognise the urgent need for improved support across Wales.

Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, Mind’s survey of GPs across Wales found that 40% of all GP appointments in Wales are for issues relating to mental health. What’s more, more than 60% of people who spoke to Mind said that their mental health had got worse during the pandemic, and a concerning 31% of young people with existing mental health problems admitted to self-harming in order to cope.

Faced with fears about the safety of the nation, Mind Cymru is today launching its priorities for the next Welsh Government and a new campaign, #StandForMe with clear actions for the Senedd, asking current politicians and future ­­­candidates to stand for mental health, increased funding, and better legislation.

Simon Jones, Head of Policy at Mind Cymru, said, “Mental health has to be at the very heart of the agenda for the 2021 elections and the next Welsh Government. Whilst there have been some positives steps in the right direction recently with extra investment, aimed at those most in need and pockets of innovative practice that are making a huge difference to people’s lives, the overall picture is not changing quickly enough.

“By asking the Senedd to stand for mental health now and at the  election, we can seize this crucial opportunity to do more to create a step change in people’s experiences and support in Wales for the next five years.”

The #StandForMe campaign launched today with a film featuring the voices of real people from Wales who are demanding that current and future members of the Senedd recognise the need for improved mental health support in Wales.

In a passionate plea, mental health advocate Gabin Kongolo who features in the film, said: “As a young man just starting out my career within the acting industry, I am always anxious and feel the pressure to succeed. It is something I have battled with all throughout my young adult life.

“This year alone there has been the pandemic, the recession and the protests. Not only that, The Black Lives Matter movement and coronavirus pandemic has left many people from the Black and Asian community swept up in a storm of anxiety and anger. This has understandably had a highly destructive impact on our mental health.

“I am passionate to make sure this isn’t the case for years to come and that services reach everyone in Wales.”

Beth Rees, a Mind Cymru campaigner who also features in the film, said: “As someone living with Borderline Personality Disorder, I’ve been confronted with extreme mood swings, depression and anxiety throughout my life.

“It’s important that the Senedd does more to ensure quality mental health support is available around the clock and across Wales. As someone who has faced workplace discrimination in the past, it’s also vital that it creates workplace legislation which is more supportive for those experiencing mental health problems.”

To get involved in the campaign, call on the Senedd and share your mental health story on social using #StandForMe. For more information on how to get involved, visit mind.org.uk/StandForMe

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