Mental Health Services INWALEs 'Poor', Say Users in Exclusive Poll

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 10, 2017 | Go to article overview

Mental Health Services INWALEs 'Poor', Say Users in Exclusive Poll


Byline: Mark Smith Health correspondent mark.smithj@walesonline.co.uk

MORE than a third of people with experience of mental health services in Wales have rated it as "very poor" in an exclusive poll conducted for the Western Mail.

Hundreds of people were asked to complete a survey for our website WalesOnline which asked for their opinions on the state of mental health provision across the country.

On a scale ranging from "very poor" to "very good", 180 of respondents (36.59%) rated the quality of mental health services in their area as "very poor", with 166 (33.74%) describing it as "somewhat poor".

In contrast, just 25 (5.09%) people said their experiences of mental health services were "very good".

When asked about what improvements needed to be made in mental health provision, 414 (83.98%) said it needed more funding and 408 (82.76%) said access to counselling needed to come earlier.

Nearly three quarters of respondents said they felt mental health services did not have "parity of esteem" with physical health.

Sara Moseley, director of Mind Cymru, said: "These survey results show that mental health problems are a part of life, either directly or indirectly, for the vast majority of people in Wales. We are talking about mental health more, which is very important.

"There are lots of good policy initiatives but people are telling us there needs to be a breakthrough in terms of accessing services when they need them.

"The big challenge for Wales is to make that link between good intentions and a change in people's experiences, wherever they are in Wales." The majority of people who took the survey - 489 out of 493 - either had experienced mental health problems first-hand or had a family member with a related condition.

Positively, 73.91% of respondents with a mental health problem had accessed some form of support - and just 4.57% had kept their mental health condition to themselves.

The most common way of managing and improving their mental wellbeing was through sport.

But worryingly, more than half (55.51%) said they had experienced stigma or discrimination because of their illness.

Alun Thomas, chief executive of mental health charity Hafal, said: "Hafal is led by its members - people directly affected by a mental illness - so we are keenly aware of the state of services in Wales. Our experience is that mental health services vary considerably across Wales in availability and quality. …

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