Nearly two-thirds say mental health funding should rise, poll finds

Most respondents said funding for both physical and mental health should be equal.

Nearly two-thirds say mental health funding should rise, poll finds fizkes via iStock
Ministers say 10% of frontline NHS spending will go towards mental health during the current session of the Scottish Parliament.

Nearly two-thirds of Scots think there should be more funding for mental health services in the country, a poll has found.

It also showed 70% said funding for both physical and mental health should be equal.

The poll was carried out by YouGov for the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, who say there is a looming mental health crisis in Scotland which must be taken seriously in next week’s Scottish Budget.

A total of 1080 adults in Scotland were surveyed between November 5 and 9.

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Asked about funding for mental health services, 65% said there should be more, 3% said there should be less, 12% said the current amount was about right and 20% did not know.

Ministers say 10% of frontline NHS spending will go towards mental health during the current session of the Scottish Parliament.

Dr Linda Findlay, chairwoman of the royal college, said: “We very much welcomed the Scottish Government’s 10% target, but on its own it’s unlikely to change spending priorities.

“It’s crucial that there is clear information about how this money is being spent and what benefits people who use our services are experiencing.

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“Our poll clearly shows mental health spend is very much on the minds of the public and how and where services are funded must be taken seriously when considering finance priorities for the year ahead and beyond, as we have a looming mental health crisis on our hands.”

She continued: “As we face an increase in demand for services – it’s now time that the Scottish Government takes stock of how money is being spent for the benefit of our patients.”

Mental wellbeing minister Kevin Stewart said: “We know the pandemic has had a substantial impact on people’s mental health and will continue to do so.

“Mental health expenditure has risen from £651m in 2006-07 to £1.077bn in 2019-20 – a 65% increase.

“We expect total spend on mental health in 2021-22, including by NHS Scotland, to be in excess of £1.2bn.

“Our £262.2m direct programme budget for mental health and autism in 2021-22 is more than double compared to last year.

“As well as ensuring that at least 10% of frontline NHS spend goes towards mental health and 1% goes on child and adolescent services, our Programme for Government commits to increase direct mental health investment by the Scottish Government by at least 25% over this Parliament.

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“This will maintain and build upon the additional £120m in direct programme funding provided this year.”