Scottish mental health organisations call for 'sweeping changes' in post Covid-19 era

A coalition of 17 leading mental health organisations in Scotland has come together to demand “sweeping changes” to meet the needs of the public in the post-pandemic era.

Scotland’s Mental Health Partnership is made up of 17 organisations, including SAMH, Samaritans, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland and the Mental Health Foundation.
Scotland’s Mental Health Partnership is made up of 17 organisations, including SAMH, Samaritans, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland and the Mental Health Foundation.

Scotland’s Mental Health Partnership is urging the next Scottish Government after the Holyrood elections to invest in promoting better mental health and wellbeing for the whole population, preventing mental ill-health in the most at-risk communities, and providing a choice of support, care and treatment.

Organisations in the group include Samaritans, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, Penumbra, the Mental Health Foundation and Bipolar Scotland.

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It comes as statistics released by the Scottish Government showed that 28.8 per cent of Scots felt high levels of psychological stress.

The second Scottish Covid-19 Mental Health Tracker Study report, released earlier this month, also found that suicidal thoughts were reported by 13.3 per cent of respondents compared to 9.6 per cent in the initial report from October last year.

Angela McCrimmon, 43, from Livingston, who has previously been hospitalised with mental illness, said that more awareness around mental health could have made a significant difference in her treatment.

She said: “If people around me had a better understanding it would have meant the fact I was struggling could have been identified sooner. When you look back, there were a lot of red flags.

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“My friends accept me the way I am. But there was a significant period of misunderstanding and stigma from professionals and that was horrific. I was put into hospital, for instance, which would never have been a place of choice for me.”

She added: “My experiences of the mental health services in the last few years have been positive, but before it was negative. The thing that pushed the situation over the edge, eventually, was me being sectioned and I knew I had to fight back.”

Lee Knifton, chair of Scotland’s Mental Health Partnership, said mental health must be a “key issue” in this year’s election.

"Our mental health sector has the ability to become world-leading; our government must match this expertise with a commitment to investing and supporting an overhaul of the prevention, support and treatment of mental ill-health and adopt a mental health in all policies approach,” he said.

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