Lack of urgency in addressing young people’s mental health support service waiting lists “not good enough”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has called for the same urgency as seen with the vaccine roll-out to be applied to addressing the long waiting lists for young people in need of support with their mental health.

The Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (sCAMHS) first appointment waiting times were published last week, and show that during the pandemic, at least a quarter of those referred to the service have had to wait more than 4 weeks for their first appointment.

Today, Rhun ap Iorwerth challenged the First Minister during Senedd Plenary, asking “Is that good enough?”

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.

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

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, who is the party’s spokesman on Health and Care said,

“A year ago our schools started reopening after a lengthy lockdown, and we know that the isolation had a heavy impact on the well-being and health of many young people.

“Throughout the year, the number of young people waiting more than four weeks for a CAMHS appointment has never fallen by under a quarter. That’s simply not good enough. We have an accelerated vaccine roll out programme, a schools catch up programme, but no urgency in addressing the long waiting lists for young people in need of support with their mental health – this needs to change.

“Welsh Government must also address the ‘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 extend an offer to Welsh Government to work with us in putting this into realisation.”