Tackling the pandemic's mental health crisis: The minister in charge gives first interview

Eluned Morgan is the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Minister Credit: ITV News

The Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing has told ITV News mental health is "absolutely the business of government".

In her first interview since starting her new role, Eluned Morgan MS, said: "It is one of the most important issues that we have to confront at the moment."

Speaking on The New Normal with Adrian Masters podcast, the Minister said it is "circumstances and conditions that people live in" which can lead to stress and mental health issues.

"Just think about housing for example, people living in crowded housing at this time, that is something that is going to increase peoples levels of anxiety."

You think about people who've been homeless, think about children in school who perhaps don't know whether they're going to have exams next year - all of those things are issues that we have a responsibility to look out for.

Eluned Morgan MS

Eluned Morgan added: "We know that young people are going to be affected significantly by Covid. They're the people who are going to be losing their jobs. We know older people who are living alone are going to be affected and that's why we introduced the bubble."

The former International Relations Minister said the number of people who call Wales' mental health helplines has increased significantly during the pandemic.

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Eluned Morgan said she will be thinking about what measures can be put in place to help people with debt, stop people from becoming unemployed, make sure people are not lonely and make sure children and young people have the support that they need.

I think that it'll help to have a minister who really concentrates on this effort, particularly when the Health Minister is focused on the firefighting that has to be done in relation to Covid.

Eluned Morgan MS

The Minister said she has been personally affected by Covid-19 as her son, who is at Liverpool University, has contracted contracted the virus. She said he is fine apart from losing his sense of taste and smell.

Eluned Morgan gave her first interview as Mental Health Minister on The New Normal with Adrian Masters podcast Credit: ITV News

The announcement of another national lockdown has caused some to feel anxious about their wellbeing and finances.

When asked if the 'fire break' lockdown will go on for more than two weeks, Eluned Morgan said: "No, we've been absolutely clear this is a two-week, short, sharp lockdown. We know that it's not going to make the whole situation better but it will make some significant improvements which hopefully will allow us to release a bit in the run-up to Christmas."

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