Our calls to extend school counselling, expand opportunities for therapists in the NHS, improve support for the third sector, and to ban conversion therapy have all been reflected in party manifestos in Wales.

Many of the party manifestos in Wales featured the four key policies we outlined in our own General Election manifesto for Wales. 

Expanding the NHS counselling workforce 

Reflecting our call for an expansion of opportunities for the counselling and psychotherapy workforce, Welsh Labour have emphasised the need to modernise mental health legislation covering England and Wales, by giving people greater choice and autonomy.

Our hope is that this commitment will widen the current offer to extend counselling provision across Wales, to meet workforce expansion targets in psychological therapies, and increase people’s access to treatment. 

We welcome the Welsh Greens highlighting the importance of mental health care being on an equal footing with physical health care. They promise increased funding for mental health care and ensuring that evidence based mental health therapies can be accessed within a maximum of 28 days. 

The Welsh Liberal Democrats acknowledged the increased demand for mental health services in Wales and included a commitment to give everyone fast access to GPs and a wider range of skilled staff locally, including in mental health. They also pledged to deliver the world class mental health services, improving early access, which would be funded by taxing the social media giants. 

School counselling 

Our calls to extend funded primary school therapeutic and counselling services to children was echoed by Welsh Labour. They have committed to continuing to provide counselling services for pupils aged six and above.  

Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Green party also promise to invest in school counselling and the Green party have gone further with a commitment to have a paid counsellor in every sixth-form college.

More support for the third sector

Following our call for better support and engagement of voluntary and community mental health and counselling providers, we welcome the pledge from the Welsh Green Party to provide readily available tailored provision to meet the needs of communities of colour, children and adolescents, older people and LGBTIQA+ communities. This much needed support is often best delivered by third sector organisations.

Conversion therapy 

Welsh Labour, Plaid Cymru and Welsh Liberal Democrats have all supported our commitment to a trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy. The Welsh Conservatives have reflected the disappointing position of the UK Party in saying they’ll undertake a review before committing to a legislative ban. 

Our Four Nations Lead Steve Mulligan said: “It’s encouraging that mental health is being prioritised in many of the Welsh manifestos. 

“We’re pleased to see that Welsh political parties are also taking into consideration the increasing demand on mental health services; improving access to school counselling and expanding NHS talking therapies are promising steps towards meeting this demand. 

“We also welcome the leadership shown by the majority parties in Wales to take forward a trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy, despite the position taken by the UK Government to kick this into the long grass.  

“We’re disappointed that only the Welsh Greens have committed to boosting support tailored to the needs of racialised and minoritised communities. These communities are often least likely to engage with statutory services and are often most vulnerable to mental ill health due to systemic inequalities.

“Third sector services need dedicated, sustainable funding to deliver the specialist services required to address the mental health needs of these vulnerable communities.” 

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