Labour in Scotland have criticised the Scottish Government for what they claim is their ‘abysmal failure’ to support mental health services in Scotland.
In the same week that the Scottish Government has launched a campaign on mental health support in Scotland Talking Helps: Mental Health Support, Labour’s Mental Health spokesperson Carol Mochan stated that “that there are currently over 1,000 vacancies for mental health nurses and almost 100 consultant psychiatrist vacancies.”
The Scottish Government has announced that it will invest up to £40 million a year in mental health services in GP practices.
Deputy chair of BMA Scotland’s GP Committee Dr Andrew Cowie said:
“Scotland’s mental health has suffered significantly throughout the COVID19 pandemic, and we welcome the additional mental health staff that will allow for our patients to access support within their communities.
“GP practices are most people’s first point of contact and it is important that there is a range of help and services available there. This is a welcome initiative and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government to develop the scheme and ensure all patients in Scotland can access better mental health in their communities.”
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has asked the Scottish Government to listen to the needs of the service. She said:
“I know from my own inbox the number of people seeking help with mental health difficulties continues to increase, and the folks on the ground delivering these services are desperate for more support and recognition of the problem from the government.
“This is an opportunity for the Scottish Government to listen, to acknowledge the scale of the problem, and to start working to put it right. I hope they grasp this opportunity.”
Kevin Stewart Minister for Mental Wellbeing in the Scottish Government has stated that mental health is one the major public health challenges to be faced in Scotland and he added “which is why mental health has remained a priority throughout our response to COVID-19.
“Around a third of all GP consultations now has a mental health component. But the range and complexity of issues requires a more varied and comprehensive response.
“This new multi-disciplinary model will deliver our commitment to provide 1,000 additional dedicated mental health staff by 2026, supporting communities to improve their mental health.”