Holyrood urged to declare mental health crisis in Scotland
By Tom Eden, PA Scotland
Holyrood will be asked to declare that Scotland is facing a mental health crisis, during a debate brought by the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
The party will argue that the Scottish Parliament needs to signal there is a crisis in the existing mental health services in order for the situation to improve.
A previous attempt to get MSPs to back a motion stating there was a crisis was rejected in 2019.
But ahead of the debate, Scottish Liberal Democrat mental health spokeswoman Rebecca Bell said the problems faced by people with mental ill health are now “even graver” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Just like the climate crisis, fixing the problem starts with accepting that there is a problem,” she said.
“People are struggling. When they turn for help, it is often not there.
“Problems that can start small, become crises as help is either lacking or arrives too late.
“Waiting times for mental health services are long and the targets for treating people have never been met.”
Ms Bell added: “Sadly, with resources vastly outstripped by the demands on services from those who need mental health treatment, departments are forced to focus solely on the acute end of the scale. That means more people are left sick for longer, and just getting worse.
“We need to aim for prevention as well so fewer people suffer mental ill-health in the first place
“We need a transformative investment in mental health, new services which can be quickly accessed locally and to end the waits of up to two years for help.
“But that won’t happen unless parliament first accepts that there is a mental health crisis.”
Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said: “It’s more important than ever that we support good mental health and wellbeing, including helping people manage their own mental health, and to build their emotional resilience.
“We want to ensure that people get the right support, at the right time, and in the right setting – this includes when mental illness does occur.
“Today the Finance Secretary announced £120 million for a Mental Health Recovery and Renewal Fund. This is in addition to the £142 million that we had already allocated to mental health in the 2021/22 draft budget – bringing our total investment in mental health to over £1.2 billion in the coming year.
“Our Transition and Recovery Plan, published in response to the mental health impacts of Covid-19, sets out over 100 actions to address additional pressures on the population’s mental health, brought about by the pandemic.
“Since the start of the outbreak, we had already invested over £18 million in dedicated funding for mental health support and services.
“On top of that, the extra funding for our Recovery and Renewal Fund will ensure the delivery of our Transition and Recovery Plan. It will help to improve specialist CAMHS services, to address long waits, and to clear waiting list backlogs.
“We will also provide more funding to support mental health in primary care, and we will invest in enhanced community support – recognising the need to focus on supporting people at the earliest possible stage.”
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