Fewer than half of Scots would seek professional mental health support

Fewer than half of Scots would seek professional help for their mental health, research from a leading mental health charity has revealed.

The organisation wants to see a focus on prevention.
The organisation wants to see a focus on prevention.

The Mental Health Foundation has issued its Holyrood 2021 election manifesto, calling for a “transformational” approach to mental health in Scotland, with a focus on prevention measures such as eliminating poverty.

It comes as a YouGov poll of more than 1,000 adults commissioned by the charity revealed just 48 per cent of Scots would seek professional help for mental health.

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Of those who said they would not ask for help, more than one in ten (13 per cent) said they would be too embarrassed, and the same proportion said they did not want a mental health problem on their record.

A fifth said they had tried to get help before but had been disappointed by the response.

Some 68 per cent of respondents said they would be likely to seek help if they could be guaranteed to receive “appropriate and timely” support.

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The Mental Health Foundation has called for a guarantee that all those with mild to moderate mental health problems are referred to appropriate community support within six weeks.

The charity also called for measures to end poverty, prevent a Covid-19 unemployment crisis and put wellbeing at the heart of the Scottish Government’s budgetary decision-making process.

Lee Knifton Director of Mental Health Foundation Scotland, said: “Mental health problems can be prevented if all Scotland’s political parties and decision makers get behind the prevention agenda and tackle the root causes of poor mental health. Addressing the cause rather than the symptoms of mental ill-health will reduce prevalence of mental distress, improve overall wellbeing, tackle stigma and save lives.”

A spokesperson said mental health is an “absolute priority” for the current Scottish Government.

“We want to make sure that safe, effective treatment and care is there for people living with mental illness and that there is clear signposting to ensure those who need it get rapid and easily accessible help, advice and support,” they said.

“We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has been distressing for many people and our Mental Health Transition and Recovery Plan lays out key areas of mental health need that have arisen as a result of Covid-19 and lockdown, alongside more than 100 actions that we are taking in response.”

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