'Mental Health Services in Welsh in Short Supply'

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 23, 2016 | Go to article overview

'Mental Health Services in Welsh in Short Supply'


Byline: Martin Shipton Chief Reporter martin.shipton@walesonline.co.uk

THE NHS has a serious shortage of mental health services available in Welsh, with most health boards employing a much lower percentage of Welsh-speaking staff than in the local population as a whole, according to a language group's research.

According to information released to Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg - the Welsh Language Society - Aneurin Bevan University Health Board had the lowest percentage of Welshspeaking mental health staff, at 1.9%.

In Hywel Dda Health Board, which serves Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire, 16.7% could speak Welsh at an intermediate level or above. The percentage who speak Welsh in the local population is well over double that figure.

Betsi Cadwaladr was the best performer, with 30% of staff in the mental health field being Welsh-speaking, a figure close to the percentage of speakers of the language across the region.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith has written to all health boards calling for better workforce planning and more training for their staff to improve Welsh-language mental health services.

In the letter, Manon Elin, who chairs Cymdeithas' Rights group, said: "We as a movement often receive complaints from our members about the lack of health services available in Welsh. This is particularly important with mental health matters since speaking and communicating is such a crucial part of the treatment and the recovery process. The patient needs to express their feelings properly in order to get a correct diagnosis. Communication problems can lead to misdiagnosis and misunderstanding. People use mental health services when at their most fragile, so it's essential they can communicate in the language they feel most comfortable speaking. …

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