East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson backed a Scottish Liberal Democrat debate at Holyrood yesterday that called on the SNP to step up and take action to address problems such as the shortage of CAMHS beds for young patients. Liberal Democrats warned that mental health services in Scotland are facing multiple crises as a result of the failure of the SNP government to adequately support services.
Commenting Jo said:
“The lack of action from the SNP on mental health is in stark contrast to the work Liberal Democrats have done in Westminster.
“Our party has set out plans to provide an extra £500 million for mental health in the next parliament as well as boosting mental health support for children and young people through a £150 million investment over five years for NHS England in child and adolescent mental health services.
“This extra funding will place particular emphasis on eating disorders and other issues such as self-harm, and will make sure that children and young people get specialist help early, enabling them to be treated in their community with effective, evidence-based treatment.
Yesterday’s debate in Holyrood comes after a long campaign by the Scottish Liberal Democrats who’ve called for equality in the treatment of mental and physical ill health to be enshrined in law.
Commenting Jim Hume said:
"The Liberal Democrats are determined to bring about a national change in attitudes for mental health. We recognise that there is still a long way to go, but we hope that the steps that we have taken in Government, and will continue to take, will help to deliver better care for children and young people with mental health problems.
There is an increasing recognition that mental health is just as important as physical health but this has not been matched by support for crucial mental health services.
"Treatment targets for people struggling with mental ill health are routinely missed. Too many young people face waits of over six months to be treated for mental ill health. In the face of these facts it is all the more concerning that calls from experts for additional resources have largely fallen on deaf ears. Our mental health services are facing multiple crises as a result of the SNP's failure to give NHS staff the support they need.
"We would not expect someone struggling with a broken leg to wait months for treatment. But these are the delays that people struggling with mental ill health routinely face. The government needs to step up and take action, starting by enshrining parity between treatments for mental and physical ill health in law."
The Scottish Liberal Democrat motion at the Scottish Parliament (Wednesday 4 March) is as follows:
That the Parliament notes that one in four people will experience a mental health problem during their lifetime; considers that providing appropriate treatment and support is critical to improving people’s wellbeing; notes the recent worrying figures that show that targets for child and adolescent mental health services and for adult patients referred for psychological therapies continue to be missed; notes that children and adolescent self-harm has doubled in some parts of Scotland; notes that 795 people died by suicide in 2013 in Scotland and calls on the Scottish Government to report to the Parliament on progress on its 36 commitments in the Mental Health Strategy for Scotland 2012-15, to ensure that parity is enshrined in law for the treatment of mental and physical ill-health, to commit to a zero suicide ambition and to adequately resource mental health services, and expresses its support for Scotland's dedicated and committed NHS staff working in this critical area of health.