A Plaid Cymru Government would establish Wales-wide hubs to provide mental health support for young people, Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has said.
The hubs would offer early intervention for young people who are not ill enough to require advanced psychiatric treatment, yet require support for their mental health. They would offer pre-arranged counselling and could deal with emergencies and other walk-ins.
Mr ap Iorwerth said that the “one stop shop” Hubs would “revolutionise” the way young people access support for their mental health, and, in being linked to other health services, would help join up an “increasingly fragmented service”.
The fully costed scheme mirrors a similar concept that has been launched in New Zealand, with the town-centre locations offering services by physicians, nurses, counsellors, social workers and youth staff.
A new study by Swansea and Cardiff Universities shows that Wales faces a wave of mental health problems in the wake of Covid-19, with younger adults, women and people from deprived areas suffering the most.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Health, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,
“With young people being increasingly affected by Covid restrictions and self-isolation requirements, and waiting times for non-Covid services ever lengthening, we don’t really know how many young people might currently be in need of mental health support.
“The changes needed in terms of services that are available, and access to them, should be nothing short of revolutionary. Plaid’s one-stop shop hubs will be a key part of that transformation of services for young people.
“The focus will be on mental health and wellbeing. 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.
“No young person should be left feeling like they have no support, especially following one of the biggest periods of upheaval in living memory. Left unchecked, poor mental health in childhood and adolescence is linked to mental health problems in adulthood, and so it’s really important to make early interventions easy accessible to any young person that needs them.”