North East councillor and Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesperson on social care Rosemary Bruce has joined calls by MSPs to declare a mental health emergency in Scotland.
In the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, the Scottish Liberal Democrat MSPs argued that it is essential for Parliament to recognise this so that services and interventions can be ramped up to meet the challenge.
It comes after Parliament voted down the party's previous attempt in 2019 to declare a mental health crisis.
Rosemary Bruce, who is Vice Chair of Education and Children`s Services on Aberdeenshire Council and a Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for the North East Region, said:
"Many people are struggling and they have nowhere to turn. The pandemic has only deepened the crisis in our mental health services and if the Scottish Government doesn't act now, we could see an impact on people's lives for years to come.
"The Scottish Liberal Democrats warned ministers in 2019 about increasing waiting times and a lack of access to mental health services. It takes time to train mental health professionals and this crisis cannot be ignored any longer.
"In the North East waiting times have got worse and worse. We are facing a wide range of issues such as a lack of in-patient care for children and adolescents, poor early diagnosis and limited training for staff and mental health care staff in communities."
Notes to editors:
- The motion to be voted on is as follows:
*S5M-24138 Alex Cole-Hamilton: Mental Health—That the Parliament recalls its resolution on the debate on motion S5M-20035 on mental health on 27 November 2019, and now recognises that there is a mental health crisis in Scotland.
Supported by: Liam McArthur*
On 27 November 2019, the Scottish Government voted to remove these words from the Scottish Liberal Democrat motion for debate:
"That the Parliament recognises that there is a mental health crisis in Scotland"
- Scottish Liberal Democrat mental health spokesperson Rebecca Bell commented:
"People are struggling. When they turn for help, it is often not there. Problems that can start small, become crises as help is either lacking or arrives too late. Waiting times for mental health services are long and the targets for treating people have never been met.
"That was true before the pandemic, but the situation is now even graver. Sadly with resources vastly outstripped by the demands on services from those who need mental health treatment, departments are forced to focus solely on the acute end of the scale. that means more people are left sick for longer, and just getting worse. We need to aim for prevention as well so fewer people suffer mental ill health in the first place.
"We need a transformative investment in mental health, new services which can be quickly accessed locally, and to end the waits of up to two years for help. But that won't happen unless Parliament first accepts that there is a mental health crisis.
"The Scottish Government voted in 2019 to delete this declaration. As a result, services went into the pandemic still in a weak position.
"Just like the climate crisis, fixing the problem starts with accepting that there is a problem. I hope Parliament will finally do that this afternoon."