Mental health care review: 'I was not getting the help I needed'

Laura Williams's children Morgan, 10, Keeley, eight, and Rueben, two, at Leo's grave Image copyright Laura Williams
Image caption Laura Williams's children Morgan, 10, Keeley, eight, and Rueben, two, at Leo's grave

"People aren't getting help when they need it," said Laura Williams, 28, who had to wait months for mental health support following her son's stillbirth.

Her plea for change has been backed by AMs after her petition contributed to a review into the help on offer in Wales.

Ms Williams shared her experiences with the National Assembly's Petitions Committee which found others had difficultly accessing some services.

The Welsh Government said it would consider the committee's findings.

Ms Williams, from Ely, Cardiff, who has three other children, said Leo's stillbirth in February 2016 put her in a "dark hole".

She lost her mother and her sister at a young age but it was Leo's death that led to her seeking help for flashbacks and nightmares.

She said a doctor gave her a leaflet with a phone number to access support services, but she wants GPs to organise help for patients, prompting her petition.

She told the committee that it was eight months before she started to receive support and she continues to see a community psychiatric nurse.

Image copyright Laura Williams
Image caption Laura Williams said the support offered to her following Leo's stillbirth prompted her to seek changes

From next month, Ms Williams is also set to start support for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and she has also been diagnosed with other conditions including depression.

"Something needs to be done about mental health in Wales," she said.

"I shouldn't have to wait this long. A change needs to be done now."

The committee has made seven recommendations to the Welsh Government, including calling for a review about access to crisis care and ensuring "sufficient clarity" among health care staff about what constitutes a mental health crisis.

Committee chairwoman Janet Finch-Saunders said: "Ms Williams' experiences, wider evidence the committee received from mental health charities, and other work done recently by the assembly's Children, Young People and Education Committee, all indicate that some people in Wales continue to find it difficult to access the support they need for mental health conditions, particularly during times of crisis."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said it had provided additional investment to improve access to crisis and out of hours care and would continue to work with the NHS, local authorities, police and others to "improve support for people in crisis".

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