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Together for mental health – one year on

togetherREAL progress has been made to improve mental health services in Wales over the past year, a Welsh Government report published last month month shows.

The first annual report highlights progress made in the 12 months since the launch of the Welsh Government’s strategy for improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole population.

Together for Mental Health is the first strategy of its kind in Wales. As well as aiming to improve mental health services, it seeks to pick up on mental health issues earlier, intervene more quickly when necessary, and reduce the stigma often associated with mental ill health.

Among the achievements highlighted in the report is an improvement in dementia care across all health boards. One of the aims of the strategy is that NHS staff recognise and respond sooner to signs and symptoms of dementia. As a result, most health boards have rolled out schemes for improved identification of dementia and for care planning tailored carefully to the individual.

People of all ages across Wales are now receiving the care they have a right to under the Welsh Government’s ground-breaking Mental Health Measure legislation. More than 29,000 people accessed treatment within the first 11 months of new primary care schemes funded by £3.5million from the Welsh Government. In addition, over 85% of people in specialist services now have care and treatment plans in place.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford launched the Together for Mental Health Annual Report at Ysbryd y Coed in Swansea, a 60-bed unit for older people with dementia. The £18.5million unit opened in November 2012.

Mark Drakeford said: “With one in four of us experiencing mental ill health during our lives, it is vital we do everything possible to improve general well-being in Wales and to provide the best care possible for those needing treatment.

“We have done much to improve mental health services in Wales in recent years, not least by ring-fencing investment in services such as those provided here at Ysbryd y Coed.

“The Annual Report on our mental health strategy is full of excellent examples from across Wales of work being done to keep people in good mental health and to support those with mental ill health.

“In the next 12 months, we will build on this work, with a particular focus on improving access to psychological therapies.”