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Mental Health Foundation calls for new prevention strategy from next Government

Senedd. Credit: Adobe Stock

The Mental Health Foundation has today published its manifesto, Making Prevention Happen, ahead of the Welsh Parliament Elections on 6 May.

The Foundation is calling for the next Government to produce a mental health prevention strategy that focuses on addressing social and economic inequalities in Wales and fully recognises the impact of Covid-19 on people’s mental health.

In its Manifesto the Foundation calls for the following action:

  1. Commitment to a new cross-government strategy on preventing mental health problems: this means taking action to increase the protective factors for good mental health and reduce the risks of experiencing poor mental health.
  2. Tackling inequalities in the new cross-government strategy to prevent mental health problems.
  1.  Making all public services Trauma-Informed by adopting standards of practice, guidance and training on trauma-informed approaches.
  1.  Widening access to ‘social prescribing’ of arts projects, peer-to-peer projects and access to nature.
  2.  Addressing rural mental health by assessing, identifying and increasing the availability of mental health and well-being support.

Mental health and well-being are determined by a range of factors, including: our childhood experiences, our education, connections with friends and family, our health and whether we have a safe place to live and work.

Jenny Burns, Associate Director for Wales at the Mental Health Foundation said:

“The pandemic has impacted on all our lives, including our mental health and well-being.  However, deep inequalities exist in our society which means some people will be hit harder than others. Our recent pandemic research[i] undertaken with Swansea University showed that teenagers – some of whom will be able to vote for the first time this year – feel under extreme pressure as the pandemic continues, and those who were from less advantaged homes are struggling most of all.

Jenny added; “We want the new Government to commit to a new prevention strategy for mental health that recognises that early years, housing, education, employment, health and social care can all work together to protect well-being and reduce the risk of experiencing poor mental health.

“To be successful, it will require all government departments to work together and take ownership of mental health and well-being in order to improve the outlook for people in Wales following such difficult times.”

Make Prevention Happen, Mental Health Foundation’s Manifesto for the Welsh Parliament Election 2021, can be found on the website at www.mentalhealth.org.uk/wales-manifesto/en