Mental health in Wales: fundamental facts
Having, robust, accurate and current statistics on mental health problems and mental well-being is critical to shaping our understanding of the issues and challenges that we face as a society.
At the moment only 5.5% of health research funding goes to mental health in the UK. In Wales, we need to invest in research and data collection as there is a scarcity of information available – in terms of what is captured at a Local Health Board level and also how it feeds into the national picture. Unlike England’s psychiatric morbidity survey, there is no such survey in Wales which looks at who is accessing support, and at what point. Neither is there regular information about investment in mental health and where it’s going. We need a clear picture of mental health in Wales, which includes issues of current scale and impact and research that looks at what works in order to build a mentally healthy society.
The Welsh Health Survey (adult) questionnaire includes a standard set of 36 health status questions known as SF-36. Responses to questions on the SF-36 produce two summary measures of physical and mental health - the Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores. Higher scores indicate better health. The survey is very limited on information and data on mental health and does not go into any depth about different mental health conditions or different treatment and support take up in Wales. The Welsh Government are in the process of developing a new survey of adults which will include health related questions and will replace the Welsh Health Survey.