Mental health ‘one-stop shops’ for young people proposed by Plaid.
Recent reports say some young people struggle to get the help they need
Plaid Cymru has promised to “revolutionise” the way mental health support is provided to young people if it wins May’s Senedd election.
The party says it would establish a network of “one-stop shops” where people could go for support.
According to Plaid Cymru the “fully-costed” policy, based on a model used in New Zealand, would cost £7m.
Ministers said they were improving young people’s mental health services, from prevention to specialist support.
Rhun ap Iorwerth, Plaid Cymru’s health spokesman, said the pandemic had highlighted the need for improved services.
The scheme, if it went ahead, would initially see 14 hubs set up in unused town centre premises where young people could seek advice from therapists and counsellors.
“The changes needed in terms of services that are available, and access to them, should be nothing short of revolutionary,” Mr ap Iorwerth said.
“These hubs would offer counselling both by appointment but also – crucially – on a walk-in basis.
“We already have walk-in services for physical problems in our A&E departments, so it’s only right that there should be walk-in services for those experiencing mental health problems.”
He added: “No young person should be left feeling like they have no support, especially following one of the biggest periods of upheaval in living memory.”
Recent reports have said that some young people have struggled to get mental health support.
Rhun ap Iorwerth said the hubs would offer walk-in counselling
A Senedd committee said there were “too many reports of limited options” for children who need help but do not reach the threshold for specialist services.
The Welsh Government recently appointed Eluned Morgan as its mental health minister.
She said at the time of her appointment that Covid had “highlighted the impact of isolation on people’s health” and that the government stood by “individuals who continue to suffer in these difficult times”.
Recently published research by Cardiff and Swansea universities found 76.6% of young people aged 16-24 had suffered levels of distress of “clinical significance” as a result of the pandemic.
A separate survey by Mind Cymru found 74% of young people aged 13-24 said their mental health has “worsened” during the first lockdown period.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring children and young people receive access to the right emotional and wellbeing support and treatment for their needs in a timely and appropriate manner.
“We are improving mental health services for young people from prevention and early intervention, including school counselling services, through to specialist services for those who are seriously ill.”
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