A target for waiting times for psychological therapies could make a huge difference in Wales’ fight to end a suicide crisis, BACP has said.

The Welsh National Assembly’s health committee has recommended a target is introduced to ensure those in need receive support within a suitable timescale, in a major report on suicide prevention released today (5 December 2018).

It’s one of 31 recommendations that will be put to the Welsh Government. These include calling for better parity between mental and physical health services. The report said meaningful targets should play a key role in this.

BACP proposed a waiting list target in evidence given to the committee earlier this year and is also calling for a wider choice of evidence-based therapies to be available to those in need.

Powerful driver for change

Steve Mulligan, BACP Four Nations Policy and Engagement Lead, said:

“This waiting list target can be a powerful driver for change in ensuring people in need receive crucial support before they reach crisis point. It has a vital role to play in preventing suicides in Wales.

“We know that timely access to psychological therapies is critical for people who need them and have the evidence to say that a range of therapies are effective in the prevention of suicide and self-harm and the treatment and management of underlying mental health problems and emotional distress.  Giving people a choice over therapy has been shown to improve their experiences and recovery.

"This could save lives and help prevent more Welsh families being devastated by suicide.”

Evidence shows that a range of psychological interventions – including talking therapies - are effective in the prevention of suicide and self-harm, and that timely access to them is crucial.

Access in 28 days

BACP believes people of all ages should have access to psychological therapies within 28 days in both primary and secondary care, including inpatient care and returning service users. Currently this requirement exists in primary care only.  

Last year 360 people took their own lives in Wales - the highest figure since 1981.

Some 278 of those deaths were men.

It’s thought official statistics may not represent the true scale of suicide, which could be much higher.

Read the full report here.