Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today raised concerns over the Scottish Government's failure to level up mental health services after it was revealed that both training of new mental health first aiders and training for instructors has been paused for the past eight months
The training of mental health first aiders in Scotland is undertaken by Public Health Scotland, who have paused Mental Health First Aid training in Scotland for the duration of the pandemic. This is in contrast to England where training never stopped and is instead being delivered as a virtual classroom course.
Willie Rennie MSP said:
"In Scotland there have been no courses advertised for mental health first aiders for eight long months and training for instructors is paused too.
"Businesses and public sector employers already lose hundreds of thousands of days to mental ill health each year. Anyone who thinks demand for mental health support has gone down during this pandemic is way off the mark.
"Since May, Scottish Liberal Democrats have called on the Scottish Government to restart the work of the Scottish Mental Health First Aid programme, with a focus on delivering online training like their counterparts in England have been doing.
“We could have used this time to give a generation of mental health first aiders the skills now to help the recovery in the years ahead.
"Given the failure to get this up and running again, the Scottish Government ought to consider whether this training and certification should be done by an independent specialist body like Mental Health First Aid England.
"We shouldn't accept second class services for mental health."