Mental health inequalities
The Health and Social Care Committee is holding an inquiry into mental health inequalities.
The Centre for Mental Health describes a ‘triple barrier’ of mental health inequality, which affects large numbers of people from different sections of the population:
>>>Some groups of people are disproportionately at risk of poor mental health. This is often linked to wider inequalities in society.
>>>Groups with particularly high levels of poor mental health can have the most difficulty accessing services.
>>>When people do get support, their experiences and outcomes are often poorer.
These inequalities existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic has made them worse.
The Committee is considering in particular:
Following the first phase of evidence gathering (see below for more information about work undertaken to date) the Committee will now explore four key emerging themes in greater detail:
>>>Mental health and society: the wider determinants of mental health, and the role of society and communities in promoting and supporting mental health.
>>>Community solutions: the role of communities in promoting and supporting mental health, and social prescribing.
>>>The impact of mental health inequalities on people with neurodiverse conditions: We have heard significant concerns about this group in the evidence that we have gathered so far. This is also a diverse group, many of whom may also experience inequalities relating to their other characteristics. The evidence suggests that some of the barriers experienced by this group—such as a lack of joined up services, limited awareness and training, and diagnostic overshadowing—may also be experienced by other groups and communities. Looking at the experience of people with neurodiverse conditions will therefore also help us to explore broader themes that affect other groups.
>>>Role of the healthcare and wider workforce: including mental health and equality awareness across the whole workforce, training, joined up working within the health service and with other organisations, and the role of GPs as the ‘front door’ to mental health services
The Committee will gather evidence on these themes through a range of mechanisms, including formal oral evidence, visits and further engagement activity. This will help us to hear a wide range of voices, including people with professional and lived expertise and experience of the matters we are considering.
Work undertaken to date
The first stage of the inquiry focused on:
>>>Which groups of people are disproportionately affected by poor mental health in Wales? What factors contribute to worse mental health within these groups?
>>>For the groups identified, what are the barriers to accessing mental health services? How effectively can existing services meet their needs, and how could their experience of using mental health services be improved?
>>>To what extent does Welsh Government policy recognise and address the mental health needs of these groups? Where are the policy gaps?
>>>What further action is needed, by whom/where, to improve mental health and outcomes for the groups of people identified and reduce mental health inequalities in Wales?
To explore these issues, the Committee
>>>Issued a written call for evidence between 10 January and 24 February 2022. We received over 90 responses.
>>>Held a series of focus groups during February and March 2022 with people who have lived experience of mental health inequalities.
You can also read more about our work so far on the Senedd blog.
Help and support
If you need help and support, the C.A.L.L mental health helpline for Wales provides mental health and emotional support, and signposting to local services:
Freephone 24 hours a day on 0800 132 737, or text HELP to 81066.
If you’re struggling to cope, need to talk to someone or feeling suicidal, you can contact Samaritans:
Freephone 24 hours a day from any phone on 116 123.
Welsh Language Line: 0808 164 0123 (7pm-11pm, 7 days a week)
Website: Samaritans Cymru
You can also find information about other mental health resources and sources of support in the Senedd Research mental health support factsheet.
Business type: Committee Inquiry
Reason considered: Senedd Business;
First published: 10/01/2022
- Citizen Engagement Team Report – Mental health inequalities: Engagement findings - 5 April 2022 PDF 349 KB
- Letter from the Chair to the Children, Young People and Education Committee, Local Government and Housing Committee and the Equality and Social Justice Committee regarding the mental health inequalities inquiry - 6 June 2022 PDF 109 KB
- Letter from the Chair to the Children, Young People and Education Committee, Local Government and Housing Committee and the Equality and Social Justice Committee regarding next steps for the mental health inequalities inquiry - 5 April 2022 PDF 117 KB
- Letter from the Chair to the Children, Young People and Education Committee and the Equality and Social Justice Committee regarding the mental health inequalities inquiry - 14 December 2021 PDF 109 KB
- Mental health inequalities (completed)