Increased investment and more staff are needed to help “fix” Scotland’s “overwhelmed mental health services for good”, according to the Liberal Democrats.
Activists at the party’s Scottish spring conference heard how pressure on services was increasing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
To help tackle issues such as long waiting times, they called for 15% of any increase in health spending to go towards mental health care.
A motion, passed unanimously by activists at the conference, also said an “urgent task for recovery from the pandemic” is to boost the mental health workforce, adding that “key” to this is more counsellors being taking on to complement the work of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.
Health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton told the conference: “It’s time for Scotland to put the recovery first and fix our overwhelmed mental health services for good.”
As well as increasing the number of training places for psychiatrists and psychologists, the MSP said: “We need to dramatically expand the number of counsellors and get the health service to help them tackle mental health problems in communities, schools and workplaces.
“The Scottish Government’s mental health strategy was years late and short on ambition. Even before the pandemic struck we had a record number of children waiting over a year for help.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently championed our national mental health. Already this year our research has shown the toll it is taking. We’ve led Parliament in declaring a crisis and secured £120 million more for services next year.
“But it needs the full weight of our proposals and a government that will put recovery first to fix this for good.”