Our action on mental health

Mental health is one of the biggest public health challenges we face in Scotland. With around one in three people affected by mental illness in any given year, the SNP Scottish Government has made improving mental health services a priority.

Here’s the action the SNP is taking in government:

The first country in the UK to have mental health waiting times

Despite a large increase in demand for mental health services, waiting times for mental health services have come down significantly in recent years.

However, the SNP Scottish Government is committed to improving waiting times even further, and has set the target that 90% of patients should be seen within 18 weeks. This target, the first of its kind in the UK, applies to child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) services, as well as psychological treatments for all age groups.

Significantly increased funding for mental health services

In government the SNP has invested heavily in mental health services, but there is still work to do, particularly as awareness of mental health issues increases and the stigma for seeking support is reduced.

Over the next five years £150 million has been allocated to improve mental health services. Funding will be provided to NHS boards to:

– Improve capacity to see people more quickly;
– Redesign local services to make them more efficient, effective and sustainable;
– Improve workforce supply and train existing staff to deliver services for children and young people, and psychological therapies for all ages.

More people seeking help

As access to mental health services are improved, more people are seeking help and demand is increasing significantly. In the last couple of years the number of young people seeking treatment has grown. This is mainly due to better identification of children who need specialist support.

Increased funding will be aimed at offering treatment to an additional 10,000 patients in the next year – an increase of around 25 per cent on current numbers, rising to 20,000 in 2019/20.

Scotland’s first ever Minister for Mental Health

Jamie Hepburn – the Minister for Sport, Health improvement and Mental Health – is the first Scottish Government minister with specific responsibility for mental health. This is a reflection of the importance the SNP Scottish Government places on improving mental health services.