'More drop-in centres needed' to help tackle mental health as Welsh Government launch strategy

Part of that policy would be more community support to help people outside of a clinical setting.

Young people say drop in centres could help long waits for mental health support.

The Welsh Government has opened up a new policy for consultation on mental health, suicide, and self harm.

Part of that policy would be more community support to help people outside of a clinical setting - like The Hangout, a drop-in centre for young people in Cardiff.

One regular attendee at the centre is Aiyan. The 16-year-old says the Hangout has "a sense of belonging to a community that is composed of other young people who are suffering from other similar situations".

Lana was referred to the Hangout by mental health services. She agrees that there's a sense of "community that's been cultivated" by both staff and users of the service.

"Everyone's really friendly and accepting. We're all on the same page, we all have our struggles, so it creates a really non judgemental safe space," she said.

It's hoped that more schemes like this could help tackle the long waiting lists to see a mental health professional.

Latest figures suggest more than a third of children on the CAMHS waiting lists are waiting over a month to see someone.

Long waits for help are something that Lana says that she has experienced.

"I could have really benefitted from a place like this for a long time and I only recently learnt about it and it's been great," she said.

Jen Love, who manages The Hangout says it's something she'd like to see "in every single community".

She added: "Whether that looks like every town every city, or even more in Cardiff, that would be amazing, but I think the open access drop in model is exactly where we need to go."

Half of mental health conditions have impacted people by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 23, something the Welsh Government says can be prevented by "ensuring everyone has equal access to the things they need to maintain good mental health, like exercise, the natural environment and belonging to the community".

Lynne Neagle, deputy minister for mental health and wellbeing, said that the Hangout is an "innovative approach to providing trauma informed and compassionate support for young people in a safe and comfortable environment".

The consultation closes on the 11 June.