- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
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Drakeford confirms Minister to discuss with Hywel Dda
Local Senedd Member Joyce Watson MS has supported a “lifesaving” Amman Valley mental health group in the Welsh Parliament (13 June 2023).
Following her recent visit to the Shadows Depression Support Group in Garnant, Ammanford, Joyce Watson MS raised the threat of them losing their funding with First Minister Mark Drakeford in the Senedd.
The project serves people struggling with mental health issues in the Amman and Gwendraeth Valleys, but it could close in September when their health board funding is due to finish.
Mrs Watson raised this with First Minister Mark Drakeford, who said that her concerns would be raised at a forthcoming meeting between Hywel Dda University Health Board and the Welsh Government minister.
Joyce Watson MS recently visited the Shadows Depression Support Group, meeting staff, volunteers and clients to see their work and to hear their concerns. She said:
“It was inspiring and moving, seeing the difference their work had made. In too many cases, their help was literally lifesaving.
“Shadows provides a vital service to local people at a time of crisis and is currently helping over 1,600 people.
“I am pleased that this matter will be raised at the ministerial meeting with Hywel Dda, and I will continue to look for ways to support the project’s vital work.”
The First Minister confirmed his commitment to mental health services, and the Welsh government’s provision of significant and sustained support for mental health. In addition to the mental health ring-fenced allocation, Powys and Hywel Dda health boards have received £4.5 million in recurrent funding to improve mental health services over the last two years.
Joyce Watson MS also praised the “great work that is happening” at Hywel Dda Health Board and gave examples of their innovative work. She said:
“It’s the first health board in Wales to roll out the 111 press 2 service, where people can speak to a mental health practitioner 24/7, and it’s currently piloting a number of forward-thinking alternatives to admissions, like sanctuaries for children and young people.”
The First Minister joined her in praising these initiatives. Mark Drakeford said:
“She’s absolutely right that the 111 press 2 service has been pioneered in Hywel Dda, and the sanctuary service for young people suffering from mental health conditions – the first practical services opened in Haverfordwest, which will be very well known to Joyce Watson.”
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