Ministers are being warned of a mental health crisis after a new poll suggested more than half of Scots were not confident accessing support if required.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) in Scotland has urged First Minister Humza Yousaf to honour the commitment to deliver 10% of the frontline NHS budget to mental health services.
It comes as the YouGov poll of 1,103 people in Scotland showed 53% said they were unconfident they or a family member could access mental health support if needed.
Meanwhile, just 11% of respondents were optimistic the situation would improve over the next two years, despite 85% stating mental health was as equally important as physical health.
And after Public Health Scotland data showed the Scottish Government was £180m a year short of their commitment on NHS mental health funding, 58% of those surveyed said not enough money was being spent on the crisis.
Dr Pavan Srireddy, vice-chair of the RCPsych in Scotland, said: “The numbers say it all – huge problems remain when it comes to Scots trying to access our mental health services.
“The fact that only a small proportion of people think services will improve over the next two years is a damning indictment when it comes to the Scottish Government’s crucial mental health policy.
“Demand for mental health care is at its highest ever as Scots are left reeling from the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on top of the aftermath of the pandemic.
“Now, more than ever, is the time to increase investment in mental health services.”
The group wrote to Yousaf last month asking for the commitment to mental health funding to be “rubber stamped”.
Tess White, deputy health spokesperson for the Scottish Tories, said the report must be an “urgent wake-up call” for Scottish ministers.
She said: “It is truly shocking that over half of Scots are not confident of accessing the mental health support they need.
“Far too many vulnerable patients are being let down due to the dire workforce planning by successive SNP health secretaries which has been compounded by their failure to invest in frontline mental health services.
“SNP ministers were already presiding over a mental health crisis before Covid struck, and the pandemic only exacerbated these issues.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The Scottish Government’s abject failure to get to grips with mental health is making people feel completely helpless.
“The long shadow of lockdown, the pressures of the cost of living and the SNP’s reckless decision to cut £50m from the mental health budget have brought the system to its knees.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We welcome the results of this survey – which describe some of the issues we are working hard to resolve, and recognises the difficult financial situation we are currently in.
“The recent Audit Scotland report concluded that our new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy recognises the importance of a whole system approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing and provides a foundation for better joint working.
“The Mental Health Strategy Delivery Plan and Workforce Action Plan will be published later in the autumn.
“These will set out the actions we intend to take to address many of the issues across the whole system.
“We are absolutely committed to delivering sustainable vital public services such as mental health, which is why since 2007 mental health spending has doubled in cash terms from £651m to £1.3bn.”
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