THERE has never been a more important time to invest in children and young people's mental health services, said Eluned Morgan at today's Welsh Government press conference.

It comes as Ms Morgan, the minister for mental health, wellbeing and Welsh language, announced a further £9.4 million will be invested to help schools and more specialist mental health services for young people across Wales.

"We know that young people's normal routines have been disrupted," she said. "They've been in and out of schools throughout the year and separated from friends and support networks.


"Throughout the pandemic we've increased support for mental health services because of increased levels of anxiety and stress and because we anticipate an increase of mental health issues.

"We know that the problem is increasing and that is something that we are very aware of. MIND has done a report recently where they've shown about three out of four children are experiencing more mental health difficulties than they were before, so we know that there's an issue and we know that it needs to be addressed.

"Today we're going a step further and investing another £9.4 million to support children and young people struggling with the impact of the pandemic.

"Four million of this will improve early access to emotional and mental health wellbeing in schools. As part of our whole systems approach, there will be more counselling and more emotional support available for schoolchildren.

"The rest of the funding will support child and adolescent mental health services providing care for young people who need more intensive support, either in the community or in specialist mental health inpatient services.

"Today marks the start of children's mental health week and it's never been more important to ensure children and young people have the right access to the appropriate counselling and mental health support."

Ms Morgan was asked to describe the current provision for mental health services for children and young people in Wales.

"I think I would describe it as improving," she said. "I think we recognise that there was a situation where there is an increase generally, even before the pandemic, in the number of children suffering from mental health issues, but do you think that this isolation that many of them have felt has led to perhaps more concentrated problems

"I just want those children to be aware that that support is available and it is available online, it is available face-to-face if that's necessary, and so I would encourage children to reach out.

"If we find that the amounts of funding are not enough then of course we will revisit that."