Health and social services minister Dr Brian Gibbons welcomed mental health service users as well as representatives of statutory and voluntary sector organisations to the Senedd on Tuesday to celebrate World Mental Health Day.
The awareness raising event brought together key partners in delivering mental health services across Wales including Hafal – Wales’ leading charity for people with severe mental illness, the National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare, Create and the Wales Alliance for Mental Health.
Talking of this year’s World Mental Health Day theme: “Building Awareness – Reducing Risk: Mental Illness and Suicide”, Dr Gibbons said: “Suicide is substantially higher amongst people diagnosed with mental illness, and is also associated with drug and alcohol misuse, social isolation, poverty, unemployment and family breakdown.
“By improving our mental health services and through promoting better mental health for the whole population I hope we can see the number of people who commit suicide continue to fall”.
As well as thanking all partners for their commitment to delivering mental health services in Wales, the Health and Social Services Minister also took the opportunity to launch two new measures aimed at improving mental health and wellbeing.
The first of these, “Action in Mental Health Wales”, is a practical guide showing what service improvement tools are available to those involved in the management and delivery of adult mental health services.
The Assembly Government’s Mental Health Action Plan was also presented for consultation during the day. Dr Gibbons said: “This focuses on the mental health and wellbeing of the whole population of Wales seeking to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health and promote social inclusion”.