PEOPLE in Ystradgynlais needing help with their addictions must take a 50-mile round journey to the closest centre according to a Senedd Member.

Jane Dodds MS, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, highlighted this when she called for better mental health support for people living in rural parts of Wales.

She spoke in the Senedd on January 10 about the need for an improved access to mental health and substance support for those in rural areas.

It comes after a study from Swansea University which found that 70 per cent of young people in Wales with substance use also suffered from mental illness, showing that mental health and substance issues can go hand in hand with each other.

Ms Dodds said that someone who lives in Ystradgynlais but needs help for substance abuse or addiction must travel to Brecon for their nearest support facility.

She said: “Commonly referred to as dual diagnosis, substance abuse and mental health problems can often come hand in hand with each other. Presenting a huge challenge to frontline mental health services already nearing breaking point.

“A recent study from Swansea University found that 70 per cent of young people in Wales with substance use records also had documentation of suffering from mental illness.

“Those with co-occurring disorders can face difficulties when it comes to accessing services, particularly those living in rural areas where availability is sparse.

“For instance, someone living in Ystradgynlais needing addiction help must take a 50-mile round bus trip just to reach their nearest support facility in Brecon.”

She highlighted that support groups are willing to set up bases in more rural areas, including Kaleidoscope who are hoping to open a local base in Ystradgynlais, but that support is needed from the Welsh Government.

She continued: “There are services willing to provide this much-needed support, such as the Kaleidoscope plus group who are hoping to open a local base in Ystradgynlais.

“Groups like these are in dire need of more support from the Welsh Government, if we are to stem the tide of this crisis then we must act now and ensure that those most vulnerable are able to access support.”