Platfform welcomes Government response to Connecting the Dots report, but raises alert on “missed opportunity”

Platfform welcomes Government response, but raises alert on “missed opportunity”

The Senedd Health committee report provides a progressive and timely account of how to address the challenges with our current approach to mental health. We are proud to have contributed to the inquiry and delighted that the committee has captured so much of what needs to change in Wales and beyond. We are pleased to see that the Welsh Government has accepted in principle, most of the recommendations. We recognise the financial, constitutional, and other challenges it faces in implementing all the recommendations, and hope that we can have a wider discussion on the barriers to implementation.

Wales has been at the forefront of introducing progressive legislation and policy, but the impact on the ground has yet to be fully seen, and as a result the potential of that legislation hasn’t been realised.

It is critical we continue the discussion and consider what the barriers to change might be and how to overcome them. Our Manifesto for Change considers this and makes several calls for changes to the financial policies underpinning budgets, political discussions of budgets, and commissioning practices.

With the Welsh Government on board with the committee’s recommendations, this is the ideal opportunity to move the conversation about mental health forward. This includes what we understand as the causes of poor mental health, how we respond to people experiencing the toughest times and how we go upstream to create a society where everyone can thrive. The committee report clearly demonstrates how poverty and discrimination impact our mental health and that we need to tackle the root causes of distress. It means mental health cannot be tackled solely through medication and diagnosis-led services.

Ewan said, “Good mental health comes from having the essential building blocks in place: fair work, good pay, quality housing, good childcare, good education, access to transport, green spaces, inclusion, and opportunities for connection and relationships.” 

“There is a lot to digest about both the report and the Welsh Government response, and we are pleased that they have accepted at least in principle, all of the recommendations. But we did want to see more. As it stands, the response is low on ambition and vision. As we wait for a new mental health strategy, and as we face even more financial uncertainty, we cannot afford to stand still. Wales as a country has been world-leading in many ways, and our mental health system is crying out for an evidence-based, progressive approach.”

“This could have been another bold watershed moment in our country, to set a new direction in public services and beyond. Instead, it feels like the depth of the report, and the implications for Wales, were missed. We need clear vision and leadership to drive the shift needed here. Wales has done it before with our housing legislation, domestic abuse laws, and the Future Generations Commissioner. The most impactful changes in Wales have happened when our government has embraced the need to challenge the status quo.”

“It is a start, and we must remember this – we will be writing to the committee to reaffirm our support for their recommendations, and we will continue to work with Welsh Government and partners across Wales to push ahead with this important work.”

View Welsh Government’s response here.

You may be interested in

  • Our Manifesto for Change

    We’re calling for an evolution in the way that mental health is understood and treated. Read about our recommendations in our Manifesto for change.

  • An evolution: towards a holistic and social justice understanding of mental health

    We have outgrown the story that people having a tough time with their mental health are just experiencing the fate of biology, genetic potluck and lacking ‘personal resilience’. If we understand that distress and mental health is not rooted in disease and pathology then it makes no sense to construct our understanding from this starting point.