More than half of Scots ‘not confident in accessing mental health support’

Press release, Scotland news
28 September 2023

More than half of Scots are not confident in accessing mental health support – new research by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland has found.

A YouGov poll of 1,103 people in Scotland revealed 53% are not confident they or a family member could access mental health support, if needed.

While only 11% were optimistic that mental health services will improve over the next two years.

But an overwhelming majority (85%) said they see mental health as equally important as physical health.

And 58% think that not enough is being spent on mental health from the Scottish Government’s health budget.

Now RCPsych in Scotland is calling on the First Minister to honour the SNP manifesto pledge made more than two years ago – that at least 10% of the frontline NHS budget should go on mental health.

As the most recent Public Health Scotland data shows that the Scottish Government are £180m a year short of their commitment.

Dr Pavan Srireddy, Vice-Chair of 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 current 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.

“We wrote to the First Minister a month ago urging him to look at keeping the Scottish Government’s commitment of 10% of frontline spend going on mental health services. We’d urge him to look at this again as he prepares to rubber stamp his Programme for Government.

“The public deserves better when it comes to easily accessible mental health services for everyone, across Scotland.”

The new YouGov data comes as Audit Scotland revealed just last week, that access to mental health services remains “slow and complicated”.

For further information, please contact: