Welsh Government misses opportunity to address child mental health

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education, Darren Millar AM, has hit out at the Welsh Government for not seizing an opportunity to address the mental health needs of children and young people.

The Children, Young People and Education Committee report on its inquiry into the Emotional and Mental Health of Children and Young People Committee found that support for the emotional and mental health of young people in Wales’ schools has been “too limited for too long”.

The committee publication called for urgent action to embed support for children in schools to build resilience and equip the education workforce to spot problems and help to tackle them.

The Welsh Government however has decided not to adopt many of the reports key recommendations.

Critiscising the response, Children, Young People and Education Committee member, Darren,  said:

“The Welsh Government’s response to the committee report on child mental health is the most disappointing and complacent I have ever seen. Psychologists and organisations like the NSPCC have endorsed all twenty seven of the report's recommendations yet the Welsh Government has only fully accepted seven.

“Welsh Minister’s should stick their response where the sun don’t shine – in the shredder – and provide a response which will deliver the step change we need to see in our schools and NHS.”

During yesterday’s Assembly debate on the report, Darren referred to the over 1,000 children and young people in North Wales who are waiting for a year or longer for a mental health assessment and treatment,  describing the situation as “totally unacceptable”.

He also praised the good practice on building mental health resilience at Ysgol Pen y Bryn, in Colwyn Bay.

He said: “It was suggested in the report that their mindfulness programme should be rolled out further in other schools. Yet, the Welsh Government response to our recommendation 3 was complacent, it was inadequate, and it simply suggested more of the same and suggested that the Welsh Government is already doing the things that are necessary, but this isn't the case.”