One in four people will suffer from mental ill health at some time in their life and the cost to individuals, families, our communities and the economy is immense. The capacity and scope of existing services doesn’t come close to reflecting this need, piling pressure on other public services. Scottish Liberal Democrats have fought tirelessly to reduce the historic inequality between the way physical and mental health are treated in the NHS. But still not enough resources are reaching front line services and there is a long way to go.
Children are waiting over 600 days for mental health treatment and the Scottish Government’s mental health strategy was more than 15 months late. That’s why we will continue to make the case to the Scottish Government for the full implementation of the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ detailed mental health plan. Using the extra resources from a 1p increase in dividend taxation we will deliver a step change in mental health in Scotland, transforming services so that people can get the treatment they need.
We will train and deploy new mental health practitioners in every GP surgery, every A&E department, police custody suites and prisons. This will be in addition to creating new units for children and adolescents in the Highlands and North East given there is no specialist beds north of Dundee
What’s more, with one in five women experiencing mental ill health during pregnancy or in the year after childbirth, we will put in place a new five-point plan to better support new mothers. This includes giving specific mental health training to GPs and health visitors who carry out the 6-week postnatal check. Improving the bed provision in mother and baby units will mean that mothers can maintain maximum contact with their babies.
We must end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health issues in Scotland - to achieve this we want to improve the training of frontline public service professionals and promote the roll-out of mental health champions in settings such as schools to achieve this.
Only the Scottish Liberal Democrats can deliver a step change in mental health treatment and ensure that mental ill health is treated with the same seriousness as physical health care.