Mental Health Services (Demand)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 25th February 2021.

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Photo of Alex Rowley Alex Rowley Labour

5. To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to address the reported increased demand for mental health services. (S5O-05061)

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is working closely with national health service boards to assess the impact of Covid-19 on mental health services in terms of both demand and capacity, which includes anticipatory workforce planning that boards are considering as part of their wider plans to remobilise services.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

You caught me short there, minister.

Photo of Alex Rowley Alex Rowley Labour

T he latest Government figures show that almost a third of Scots are reporting high levels of psychological stress. The second Scottish Covid-19 mental health tracker study revealed that suicidal thinking had been reported by 13.3 per cent of respondents, compared to 9.6 per cent in the initial report in October. I very much welcome the announcement today by NHS Tayside on the living life well strategy. Does the minister accept that we need to develop such strategies across Scotland? Will she work with every health board to look at putting in place the support that is necessary?

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

Alex Rowley will be aware that, on 16 February, the Scottish Government announced £120 million for the mental health recovery and renewal fund, which will ensure the delivery of our mental health transition and recovery plan, including a programme of tailored work that will help individual boards to respond effectively to the anticipated increase in demand in the months ahead. Mental health remains a priority for the Government, and we will continue to work closely with both NHS boards and the third sector to ensure that people get the right help and support in the right place when they need it.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Bill Kidd has a supplementary question.

Photo of Bill Kidd Bill Kidd Scottish National Party

How will the £120 million in additional funding that the minister mentioned, which was announced by the finance secretary last week, improve access to medical health services for those with pre-existing mental health conditions?

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

The £120 million that has been announced for the mental health recovery and renewal fund will ensure that our mental health transition and recovery plan is delivered. That covers all patients who are new to mental health services and those with existing mental health conditions. Alongside our tailored improvement support for national health service boards, the funding will support our on-going work to improve specialist child and adolescent mental health services, to address long waiting times and clear waiting-list backlogs. Nearly £10 million of the money will be allocated to clearing backlogs in psychological therapy waiting lists for adults.