Our Plan for Scotland

Transformed mental health

Transformed mental health

Around one in four people in Scotland will have a mental health problem at some time in their life. Yet, under the SNP, the share of the budget devoted to mental health went down.

We will increase the share of the budget spent on mental health and double support for services for young people. We are committed to ending the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health issues.

Tackling mental ill health is going to be an important part of improving the overall health of the country and relieving the pressure on other public services.

At the moment mental health services are insufficient, difficult to access and involve lengthy waiting times.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have a practical plan to help. We will:

  • Change the law to put mental health on the same statutory footing as physical health;
  • Make more therapies available, by training more nurses, counsellors and psychologists, and giving them bursaries to train;
  • Double the funding to treat children and young people to end the scandal of waits for mental health treatment of up to a year and the long journeys to access it;
  • Create new units for children and adolescents in Aberdeen and Inverness to make sure there are beds available north of Dundee;
  • Continue to work on suicide prevention, and increase support for survivors of childhood sexual abuse;
  • Fully update the Scottish Mental Health Strategy. This expired at the end of 2015 and has not been replaced by the Scottish Government;
  • Make use of the evidence that counselling in many cases is more effective than medication by increasing access to a range of interventions including ‘talking therapies’;
  • Bring more fully qualified cognitive behavioural therapists into the NHS;
  • Make sure that every GP practice has a qualified mental health professional available to support and treat patients;
  • Set standards for the training of other professionals for example teachers, police and social workers so that they are better able to identify and address mental health problems with the people they meet;
  • Improve mental health support for service veterans;
  • Set a standard so that every school has a mental health champion;
  • Review school counselling services to make sure that the staff involved have the skills needed to make a difference for young people and are seen to be independent of the disciplinary process;
  • Empower teachers to help young people and parents access a wide range of relevant mental health services;
  • Establish mental health professionals in every A&E department;
  • Provide access to mental health professionals for people in police custody;
  • Examine the establishment of Joint Cars – staffed by police officers and mental health nurses - to respond to emergency incidents, learning from the example started in Leicestershire;
  • Examine the establishment of ‘Crisis Centres’ which are safe, staffed places where individuals can go for emergency support either directly or via the emergency services;
  • Increase mental health services in prisons with a focus on providing effective rehabilitation and tackling problems associated with addiction and drug abuse.