Russell George MS

Russell George MS

Chair's foreword

Published 19/12/2022   |   Last Updated 19/12/2022   |   Reading Time minutes

Connecting the dots: tackling mental health inequalities in Wales

We all have mental health. Just as our physical health may vary throughout our lives, sometimes our mental health will be positive, at other times we will experience poorer mental health, and some of us may become more seriously mentally unwell.

Our mental health is inextricably linked with our physical, emotional, and spiritual health, and the circumstances in which we live. We all have human needs which must be met if we are to thrive. Our specific needs will vary, according to who we are, our circumstances, and the communities we belong to. But we all need our communities, our health services, and our wider public services to recognise and respond to our needs, to help us build and sustain our mental health and wellbeing, to support us when we experience poorer mental health or become mentally unwell, and to see us as more than just our diagnoses or conditions.

Sadly, the evidence shows that some groups and communities are at greater risk of poor mental health than others, that such groups may have the most difficulty in accessing services, and that even when they do get support, their experiences and outcomes are poorer.

These inequalities are too-often rooted in deeper societal and structural inequalities, and tackling them must be a priority for the Welsh Government’s next mental health strategy.

Connection is key to tackling mental health inequalities.

Connecting poor mental health with its wider causes, particularly in the context of rising costs of living, gives us the opportunity to address those causes, not just patch up the symptoms. Connecting people with their communities, and bringing communities together, can create environments and circumstances which support, promote and nurture positive mental health and wellbeing. And connecting services will help the mental health and wider workforce to work together, and to co-produce solutions and resources with people with lived experience to ensure that everyone can get the help and support they need, when and how they need it.

Simply put, we cannot build a mentally healthy Wales, or successfully tackle mental health inequalities, without connecting the dots.

— Russell George MS, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee




Table of Contents

Chair's foreword




Mental health inequalities

Person-centred services

Mental health is 'made' in communities

Social prescribing


Coordinated cross-government action

Reform of the Mental Health Act 1983

Annex: Mental health and emotional support