Looming mental health crisis must be taken seriously in forthcoming Scottish Budget

Scotland news
02 December 2021

The looming mental health crisis must be taken seriously in next week’s Scottish Budget the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said today.

With a week to go until the Budget, the College has written to Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes to ask where mental health spending goes and how local communities across the country are affected by the spend.

The letter comes as a YouGov poll of 1,080 people revealed nearly two-thirds of Scots (65%) think there should be more funding for mental health.

While almost eight in 10 (70%) thought funding for mental and physical health should be the same.

The survey also showed more than half (59%) think mental health services are currently “inefficient”.

RCPsych in Scotland is also asking the Scottish Government to map out how it will meet its own target for 10% of NHS spend to be on mental health as well as its 1% target for CAMHS.

The letter also includes an appeal to ministers to make sure the £120m Mental Health Recovery and Renewal fund is retained into next year.

Dr Linda Findlay, chair of RCPsych in Scotland, 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.

“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.

“Like others the mental health workforce has been working extremely hard during the pandemic. Even before the crisis took grip, RCPsych in Scotland was calling for more funding and a better plan as to how spend is divided between services.

“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.” 

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