Self-harm figures highlight importance of mental health services

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume MSP has repeated his call for parity between mental and physical health services to be enshrined in law after new figures showed an increase in the number of Scots dying as a result of self-harm.

Figures from NHS boards revealed through parliamentary questions showed that the number of deaths from intentional self-harm increased by around 8% between 2011 and 2012. The number of people aged 60 or over dying as a result of self-harm rose by more than 50% over this period.

Commenting, Jim Hume MSP said:

“These sobering figures show just how important it is that people suffering with self-harm are receiving the support they need. Self-harm is clearly a complex issue and there are no quick fixes here. But what we must do is work to ensure that health services – particularly mental health services – are available to those who need them at the right time.

“The increase in the number of older people dying from intentional self-harm is also a real concern. Scotland’s ageing population presents our NHS with a huge challenge. It is important that mental health services are not ignored when Ministers look to the future.

“All too often mental health services are the poor relation of our NHS and currently a postcode lottery in access to crucial psychological therapies means that waiting times often have more to do with geography than clinical need. This needs to end, which is why Liberal Democrats have called for equality between mental and physical health care to be enshrined in law.”

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