How is the SNP improving mental health services?
Mental health is one of the most important public health issues in Scotland today. That’s why, in government, the SNP has made improving mental health services a priority - appointing the UK’s first and only dedicated Minister for Mental Health.
We’ve made big strides in mental health support in recent years. Funding is up 40 per cent since 2006 and mental health staffing is at a record high, up 79 per cent since the SNP came to office. The number of people working in child and adolescent mental health is also going up and the number of child psychology posts has doubled over the past ten years.
But, demand is also increasing and we must take action over the next parliament to improve mental health care in our communities, to support people living with mental health challenges.
The SNP Scottish Government has increased investment in mental health services by £17 million to over £70 million in the 2018-19 budget, delivering 800 additional mental health workers over the next five years.
Mental health investment reached £1 billion for the first time this year, and we are investing £150 million over the next five years to improve services and find better ways of working. We will also develop a new ten year plan to transform mental health in Scotland. This will be rooted in the ‘Ask once, get help fast’ approach, to ensure people get help at the first time of asking and within a clear timescale.
We also recognise that mental health problems affect one in five women during pregnancy or in the year after childbirth, which often causes significant difficulties for women and their families. This is why we are bringing together health professionals who work in perinatal and infant mental health to create a Managed Clinical Network for mental health. This expert group will look at how we can improve perinatal mental health to make sure pregnant and postnatal women receive equitable, coordinated access to mental health provision. It is also a clear sign of our determination to give mental health parity alongside physical health.