There is a total lack of funding for mental health services in Scotland’s NHS. Personally I have waited over six months multiple times to access therapists or psychologists through the NHS. Clearly mental health is no priority for the Scottish government, as shown through the lack of funding. Funding these services is as necessary as funding the physical health services, especially after a pandemic. If you want Scotland to fully recover, you need to let us have access to mental health services without a month-long wait standing in the way. No one should feel pressured to pay thousands for a private psychologist, but currently that is the reality for most. Currently the standard for patient wait times is 18 months to see a psychiatrist, yet in 2019 only 72% of patients were seen within this time - (source: https://www.isdscotland.org/health-topics/waiting-times/waiting-times-statistics/ ). Scotland needs to aim for 100%. The lack of funding and support for the mental health departments of our NHS is strangling them and resulting in people with mental health issues going without support and often lacking in treatment. If treatment is offered waiting lists are so long you could go a year plus before anyone even gets in touch regarding treatments. With more people suffering due to the long standing pandemic I think now is the vital time to begin to fix these issues. Now more than ever I feel access to mental health service should be easier for people. This is a crisis which needs to be addressed. In my opinion, funding in this area is paramount to create additional jobs and increase services to reduce waiting time for appointments for people. People have lost so much during this pandemic and it has affected each and every person in some way. Waiting times to see a mental health specialist were already too long before the pandemic. Now due to an overall decrease in mental well being throughout the country and a back log of patients who were perhaps not being seen throughout lockdown it is so important to address this issue. It would be good if there was quicker access to counselling or therapies for people experiencing mental health problems. Early intervention and therapy may alleviate the strain on the community mental health teams and the hospital based mental health service. The current waiting list time to speak to a counsellor or therapist is too long and in some cases leads to hospitalisation or worse, suicide, that could have been prevented. The Scottish Government’s pledge for parity of esteem between mental health and physical is laudable and progress made should be actively scrutinised by committees. Particular attention should be made to the mental health and wellbeing of the health and social care workforce – staff should have access to employee wellbeing services and evidence-based psychological therapies. This should include ensuring that steps are being taken to continuously improve services on offer. Mental health support is clearly important across the board, a few priority areas in addition to the health workforce could be prisoners, children and young people, and vulnerable or marginalised communities. The mental health and psychological wellbeing of everyone across Scotland should be a priority for the Parliament and the entire country. This priority should include examination of whether holistic care is being offered to those who it could benefit and the impact of the pandemic. Parliament should take note that better education, better housing, better social environments, better jobs and better opportunities all contribute to better mental health.
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This content is created by the open source Your Priorities citizen engagement platform designed by the non profit Citizens Foundation