Urgent action needed now to tackle health inequalities in Wales

Online news, Wales news
04 May 2023

As the cost of living crisis bites urgent action is needed now to tackle health inequalities, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales has said.

The call comes as the College and the NHS Welsh Confederation came together to debate the issue in the Senedd on Tuesday 2 May.

Recent research by the Confederation and Health and Wellbeing Alliance revealed one-third of children in Wales are now classed as living in poverty – more than anywhere else in the UK.

While in Wales’s most deprived neighbourhoods, suicide rates are between two and three times higher compared to the most affluent.

The polling also shows 61% of adults in Wales have found the current financial situation is affecting their mental health.

Now RCPsych in Wales and the NHS Welsh Confederation are calling for cross-government action to tackle inequalities including the improvement of public services, performance measures to reduce inequalities and prevention actions, including supporting people in primary and community care.

They also want to see universal services across all aspects of life and a commitment to the Welsh and UK governments continuing to work together on reforms to the Mental Health Act, ensuring public services are joined-up.

Dr Maria Atkins, chair of RCPsych in Wales said:

“This debate was important as the cost of living crisis could not have come at a worse time, considering the challenges we faced during the pandemic.

“It’s a known fact that poverty and inequality is bad for people’s mental health. With socioeconomic deprivation associated with increased risk of most mental health disorders.

“This is why we need all parties in the Senedd to take this issue seriously. We’re urging them to sit up and take action for the sake of everyone’s mental health in Wales.”

For further information, please contact: