Improving Mental Health Services

Earlier this year I led a summit which brought together medical professionals, NHS management, charities and campaigners to discuss the serious challenges facing mental health services in Scotland.

And we should be clear: the challenges we face are substantial.

We have seen an increase in the number of vulnerable children being treated in adult wards. Only one in three young people with mental health problems in Dundee begin the treatment they desperately need within the 18-week target. This could have a real impact on their treatment and recovery.

Liberal Democrats have led efforts to ensure that mental ill health is taken seriously at every level of government. The summit I led over the summer was a chance for the experts to set out their ideas and concerns.

The debates we had were wide ranging and lively. There were some disagreements but also consensus on some of the big issues.

Securing a fairer resource allocation between physical and mental health services.

Working to eradicate the stigma associated with mental ill health.

Improving community-based services to boost early intervention.

Ensuring that professionals get the support they need as they help people struggling with mental ill health.

These problems are not new. We have known for some time that mental health services are poorly resourced in comparison to physical health. This is manifested in unacceptable waiting times for crucial treatments.

Vulnerable young people have been forced to wait more than a year for treatments. Staff are feeling the strain due to high demand. This is just not good enough.

Liberal Democrats have already called for mental and physical health to be given parity of esteem in law, as is the case in other parts of the UK.

The big issues identified at the summit will guide our work as we seek to improve mental health services across Scotland.

You can read the report here:

And you can join our campaign to improve mental health services in Scotland here.

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