The SNP’s Programme for Government includes £250 million mental health investments through funding and strategies across a variety of sectors including education, housing and health care and culture, in a wrap-around approach to prevent and tackle mental health issues as early as possible and through all stages of life.
Prevention and treatment begin with investing in perinatal and infant mental health and expanding support to young mothers through the Family Nurse Partnership. Almost 20% of all women will experience mental ill-health during their pregnancy and more counselling support will be available for less acute issues and better specialist support for moderate to acute problems.
SNP Government proposals furthermore ensure that parents will have a clearer understanding of the kind of help that is available to their children and where and how to access it.
Measures to achieve this include:
Over £60 million of investment in additional school counselling services across all of Scotland, placing around 350 counsellors in school education ensuring that every secondary school has counselling services;
Recruiting 80 additional counsellors in Further and Higher Education over the next four years;
Providing an additional 250 school nurses by 2022 to provide immediate local help with mild and moderate emotional and mental health difficulties experienced by young people;
Putting in place systems to fast-track those with serious mental illness to specialist treatment;
Developing services for community mental wellbeing for 5-24 year olds and their parents to provide direct and immediate access to counselling sessions, self-care advice, family support, peer-to-peer support and group work with links to other care settings.
In addition, the SNP Government will work with key players including students, the higher and further education sectors and NHS Scotland to develop an integrated approach to student wellbeing in Higher and Further Education, that links and interconnects support for mental health, student safety, pastoral support and information and advice services.
The SNP Programme for Government furthermore proposes to further reduce Scotland’s suicide rate by 20% by 2022 through plans backed by a new £3 million innovation fund.
Other strategies such as Housing First to end homelessness and measures against anti-loneliness strategies will also continue.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Like our physical health, our mental health is something we carry with us every day of our life.
“It would be a mistake to think it is merely a health issue; it is interconnected with anything from nursery to education to housing, to any event that can occur in life.
“I am proud that the SNP Government doesn’t shy away from investing heavily in Scotland’s mental health and continues to build on current improvements through a holistic, multi-faceted approach.”