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Majority of mental health conditions treated with medication in Wales

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Medication is the main treatment provided Medication is the main treatment provided for mental health patients in Wales

Medication is still offered to the highest proportion of people with mental health conditions in Wales, a report from mental health charity Gofal has found.

Some 79% are given medication in comparison to those offered a further assessment (36%) and CBT (22%). Other methods of treatment offered in smaller proportions were referral to other services, physical activity and books on prescription.

Gofal's report Snapshot 4: Three years on compares data from four Wales-wide surveys carried out since part one of the Mental Health Measure came in back in October 2012.

The charity has raised concerns that the findings from the latest survey of over 800 people have highlighted that there has been little improvement since the initial survey was conducted in 2012.

Gofal chief executive Ewan Hilton, said it was 'concerning' that outcomes do not appear to have improved since the Mental Health (Wales) Measure. 'This report is evidence that we are far from ‘job done’ and the Welsh Government, health boards and local authorities must continue to resource primary mental health care and improve services,' he said.

Respondents were questioned on four key areas the understanding and empathy from primary care staff, the range of advice, treatment and support options offered, waiting times for assessment, treatment and support and the impact of these services on people's health and wellbeing.

Respondents stated that GPs and counsellors were regarded to be the most understanding and empathetic while receptionists were the least. Nearly 60% of practice nurses were perceived to be empathetic to patients with mental health conditions.

However, waiting times appear to have steadily improved over the past four years, with 35% of respondents in 2012 being able to access treatment of support within four weeks and nearly 55% being able to do so in 2015.

'Waiting times also appear to have improved but many survey respondents have told us that they are still waiting too long to access one-to-one psychological therapies. It is imperative that health boards and the Welsh government start to collect waiting time data for one-to-one psychological therapies in order to shine a light and focus resources on this issue,' said Mr Hilton.

The Mental Health Measure aims to improve the treatment of people with mental health problems in Wales. Part one of the Measure aims to improve access to primary mental health services and improve outcomes for patients.

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