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Lack of action on youth mental health waiting times ‘astonishing’ says Plaid Cymru

THE numbers of young people waiting more than 4 weeks for mental health service has doubled since March

Plaid Cymru’s Sian Gwenllian MS has called for urgent action to reduce waiting times for young people’s mental health services.

Figures released today (Wednesday 21 July) by the Welsh Government show that number of young people having to wait more than 4 weeks for their first appointment with specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (sCAMHS) has doubled since March 2021.

Responding to a question from Plaid Cymru, the First Minister said in June that “Part of the problem with the CAMHS service has been that a very large number of people who are referred to it turn out not to be suitable candidates for that service.”

Whilst volumes of young people being referred to the service has increased since March 2021, the number being seen within the 4 weeks has remained quite constant, leading Ms Gwenllian to question “what is being done to provide an alternative service for young people, if sCAMHS is not what is required?”

The Senedd’s Children, Young People and Education Committee reviewed the impact of the pandemic on young people, and identified the ‘missing middle’ as a particular concern. This refers to the significant number of children and young people who need mental health advice and support, but who may not need acute or specialist services.

Plaid Cymru has previously extended an invitation to the Welsh Government to work with them on their proposal for a network of walk-in centres across Wales offering free and confidential mental health advice and support for young people.

Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for children and young people, Siân Gwenllian MS said,

“In acknowledging that young people are being referred to sCAMHS when they might not be suitable for it, it is astonishing that referral numbers have increased once again.

“Welsh Government either needs to increase provision of this service or provide signposts to the alternative services that are available – either way, young people’s mental health services require urgent action.

“Government also needs to provide more detail on what is it doing for this ‘missing middle’ of young people who need support with their mental health, but who are not ill enough to require advanced psychiatric treatment. Plaid Cymru has already proposed a network of mental health hubs across Wales, and we again extend an offer to Welsh Government to work with us in putting this into realisation.”


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