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 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 up 69 per cent since the SNP came to office – an increase of 400 whole time equivalent staff. 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.
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.
To make sure that children and young people have the support they need at the earliest possible stage, we will recruit 430 new school, college and university counsellors to help prevent mental ill-health amongst children and young people.
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. We want to transform the service that they receive – by providing more counselling support for less acute issues and better specialist support for moderate to acute problems.
Read more about our action on mental health here.