Mental Health Awareness Week serves as a reminder that the Scottish Government has made many promises that must now urgently be delivered.
There are likely very few people in the world who would say their mental health has not suffered over the last year. Fourteen months spent living in fear of physical illness has had a profound psychological effect.
We have been warned repeatedly by experts that humankind is hurtling towards a mental health catastrophe unlike anything we have ever seen before. Post-Covid crisis, the scars caused by prolonged health anxiety and extreme isolation will be deep.
As recently as this weekend, tributes were paid to both Aberdeen mental health blogger, Bradley Allan, and former English footballer, James Dean, after their tragic deaths.
Though there is no silver lining to mental health issues, it is encouraging to see awareness and acceptance continue to grow in society. We are talking about mental health more. So are the media, and so are politicians. It is important to talk – but talking can only do so much.
Improvement starts with investment
Attitudes towards mental health have improved considerably in the last decade, but funding for mental health services has not. During the recent Scottish election campaign, pledges were made from several parties to improve these vital NHS resources. Ahead of voting, a Survation poll found that mental health was one of the most important election concerns for Scottish residents.
Promises were made that may have influenced votes cast. Promises have been made for long enough – now is the time for action. The SNP must stay true to their word and deliver on all that they have promised.
During Mental Health Awareness Week, when we have never been more aware, it is time for Nicola Sturgeon’s newly re-elected government to commit the money, time and expertise required to improve the support and treatment available for people suffering, without any caveats.
If you are struggling with your mental health, there is help available.
Samaritans provides free anonymous and confidential emotional support for people experiencing crisis and distress, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
You can contact Samaritans by phone on 116 123, by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit samaritans.org
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