A £650,000 funding boost to improve access to psychological therapies for people with mental health problems in Wales has been announced by Health Minister Mark Drakeford.
The funding will support the delivery of psychological therapies – such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and mindfulness – for people of all ages, and will include psychological therapies for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The investment, which will be shared by health boards, builds on work already undertaken to train NHS staff to improve their skills and competencies in delivering evidence-based psychological therapies to patients in Wales.
Research has shown that family therapy interventions can reduce risks of relapse in people with psychosis and mindfulness therapy can reduce the risk of relapse in depression.
The Minister made the funding announcement at a conference in Cardiff, arranged by Public Health Wales, which aims to promote a greater understanding of the role psychological interventions can bring to improve efficiency in health and social care.
Professor Drakeford said:
“In Wales, we aim to have a psychologically-minded workforce which understands and supports people to manage their health better. This requires an approach that addresses the physical, social and psychological aspects of a person’s health.
“Together for Mental Health, our ground-breaking mental health and wellbeing strategy emphasises the value of providing timely access to a range of evidence-based psychological interventions.
“We must ensure patients have real choices about all available treatment options and evidence-based interventions are accessible. Providing people with the skills and support to manage their condition will help to prevent relapse and reduce the need for costly future interventions.
“This is preferable for people experiencing mental illness and is the prudent way forward for the NHS, not least in these times of austerity.”
The Minister said that the Welsh Government has successfully embedded its ground-breaking mental health legislation – the Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010 – at the heart of mental health services in Wales.
More than 30,000 people have been assessed by local primary care mental health support services in the last year, many of whom will have received psychological therapies.
Professor Drakeford added:
“We are committed to increasing the availability of psychological therapies and other talking treatments where these are appropriate for the individual, and to ensure these services are available as close to people’s homes as possible.”