Mental health is just like physical health.

We all have it. All kinds of factors can affect it. And we need to look after it.

The people of Wales require access to high quality psychological services (such as cognitive behavioural therapy or mindfulness) for mild to moderate anxiety or depression. These should be available in primary care without an excessive waiting list. These services have a proven evidence base and can help people return to and maintain an active life. Social prescribing is another option that needs to be strengthened. This enables people to access a non-clinical activity such as group learning, arts, gardening, healthy eating and a range of sports. Psychological interventions should also be available to those with serious mental illnesses as stated in NICE guidelines. RCN Wales also believes that the pre-16 education curriculum should include the teaching of strategies to develop emotional resilience skills.

Did you know?

One in 4 adults experiences mental health problems or illness at some point during their lifetime, while one in 6 of us will experience symptoms at any one time. Each year in Wales between 300 and 350 people die from suicide, three times the number killed in road accidents.

ACTION – Increase access to psychological therapies in primary care settings. Invest in social prescribing. Introduce strategies to develop emotional resilience in pre-16 education.

Unhappy patient experience and robust independent reviews have demonstrated through a range of high-profile cases that lower and less stable staffing levels on mental health wards have been a cause of poor patient care in Wales. The number of nursing student places commissioned by the Welsh Government in mental health needs to be increased to ensure safe and effective care on mental health inpatient wards.

The Royal College of Nursing calls for a clear workforce development and education strategy for mental health nursing in Wales that will meet the future mental health needs of children or adults. There needs to be sustainable funding for post registration education. Specialist education is needed in fields such as eating disorders, alcohol and substance misuse, cognitive behavioural therapy, family work, and personality disorder.

ACTION – Increase the number of places commissioned for mental health nursing students.

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