People with severe mental illness and their carers from across Wales protested against obstruction of public access to Assembly Members and Ministers at the new Senedd building yesterday.

Children’s mental healthcare in Wales has been criticised by Peter Clarke, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, for not having the facilities to treat young people locally.

Peter Clarke commented in his Annual Report that young people suffering mental health problems should not have to be sent to England to receive treatment. One of his main criticisms of the current system is the health gap that young people fall into when they are no longer eligible to receive healthcare provision for children, which lasts up until the age of 16, but cannot receive healthcare for adults which starts at 18.

Peter Clarke said: “It is a disgrace that sick children and young people have to be placed so far from home, out of Wales, and usually detained under the Mental Health Act in order to receive treatment, therapy and services.

“These children are probably the most vulnerable in Wales and yet are probably the least safeguarded.”

Dr Brian Gibbons, Assembly Minister for Health and Social Services, said there is “momentum building up and hopefully when the Children’s Commissioner does come to look at this again he will acknowledge that substantial progress has been made.”

His Annual Report, which is released on 22nd February, is explored on this Sunday’s BBC Wales Politics Show.

For more information on the Children’s Commissioner of Wales, go to: The Children’s Commissioner of Wales website.