Ministers urged to 'get to grips' with impact of cost-of-living crisis on the mental health of Scots

Scotland news
04 November 2022

The Scottish Government must "get to grips" with the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on mental health.

The call comes after John Swinney announced £400 million of spending "reprioritisation" within the health and social care portfolio in Wednesday’s (3 November) emergency budget review.

Some £38 million has been earmarked from mental health funding.

But mental health services must be protected, especially at a time when Scots are facing the “hard reality” of poverty, isolation and debt.

Pavan Srireddy, policy lead and consultant psychiatrist at the RCPsych in Scotland, said:

"Considering the cost-of-living crisis poses a real threat to the nation’s mental health, it’s frightening that such little thought has been given to this area of the health service.

"This comes at a time when food insecurity, fuel poverty, debt, loneliness – and the isolation that comes with it – is a hard reality for thousands of Scots.

"Those already living with a mental illness are more likely to suffer the consequences of the looming economic downturn which will be felt for years to come, and as psychiatrists we need to be ready to offer specialist, high-quality care that we know can make a difference.

"The already tight mental health budget will have to stretch even further to keep pace with soaring inflation. We simply must ensure our mental health services are protected."

Dr Srireddy warned that the budget cuts could result in people not being able to access the services they require.

"We are concerned that the proposed cut to mental health budgets at the time of an existing mental health crisis will mean that some people simply won’t get the help they desperately need.

"That’s why we’re calling on the Scottish Government to guarantee that 10% of frontline spend is given to mental health and it receives its fair share of funding."

 Dr Pavan Srireddy is policy lead at RCPsych in Scotland. 


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