Plea to triple cash as men­tal health wor­ries hit more pupils

The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

STEPHEN NAYSMITH

now for a men­tally healthy Scot­land will ben­e­fit us all in the longer term.”

Scot­land, un­like other coun­tries in the UK, cur­rently of­fers no guar­an­tee of ac­cess to coun­selling in schools.

But in­vest­ment in ser­vices for chil­dren saves money by in­ter­ven­ing be­fore prob­lems es­ca­late, Ms Lochhead said.

“Chil­dren and young peo­ple need more help,” she added.

“Spend­ing on chil­dren and young peo­ple’s men­tal health is less than 0.5 per cent of the to­tal NHS ex­pen­di­ture.”

Ms Lochhead also said that at the mo­ment, peo­ple have to ask re­peat­edly, in dif­fer­ent set­tings, be­fore re­ceiv­ing any help, and even then, they must of­ten wait a long time for it. |

Ac­cord­ing to the char­ity, some In­te­gra­tion Joint Boards (IJB), which are re­spon­si­ble for di­rect­ing health and so­cial care ser­vices on be­half of coun­cils and health boards, are mak­ing mas­sive cuts to ser­vices.

Glas­gow IJB is slash­ing £3.9m from men­tal health ser­vices.

SAMH claimed this ac­counts for half of its en­tire pro­gramme of sav­ings, al­though a spokesman for the board dis­puted this.

Mean­while, NHS Tay­side has cut the amount of fund­ing it passes on to Perth IJB for men­tal health by 10 per cent, the SAMH doc­u­ment notes.

Ms Lochhead added: “The well­be­ing of our coun­try de­pends on a sys­tem that has an ‘Ask Once, Get Help Fast’ ap­proach.”

Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment Men­tal Health Min­is­ter Mau­reen Watt said: “Men­tal health is a pri­or­ity for us, which is clearly shown by our in­vest­ment of £150m over five years in im­prov­ing men­tal health, with ad­di­tional fund­ing reach­ing £35m by 2022 for

Three chil­dren in ev­ery class­room will suf­fer men­tal health prob­lems be­fore they are 16.

800 ad­di­tional men­tal health work­ers in key set­tings like A&Es, GP surg­eries, cus­tody suites, and pris­ons.

“In 2017/18 for the first time NHS in­vest­ment in men­tal health will ex­ceed £1bn, and we are work­ing with boards to de­liver sus­tained im­prove­ments and to en­sure ser­vices are de­signed and de­liv­ered in the most ef­fi­cient way.

“We recog­nise the im­por­tance of giv­ing ev­ery child and young per­son ac­cess to emo­tional and men­tal well­be­ing sup­port in school and we are com­menc­ing a re­view of per­sonal and so­cial ed­u­ca­tion, in­clud­ing coun­selling in schools.

“We want peo­ple to get the right help at the right time, ex­pect re­cov­ery, and fully

en­joy their rights, free from dis­crim­i­na­tion and stigma.

“Whether in schools, work­places, com­mu­ni­ties or care fa­cil­i­ties, the strat­egy will see us take for­ward an ini­tial 40 ac­tions to shape change.”

A spokesman for Glas­gow Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship did not dis­pute health ser­vices in the city face cuts in ex­cess of £3m, but added this was not close to half of the sav­ings – fore­cast at more than £20m – the part­ner­ship is faced with mak­ing.

“Given the scale of the fi­nan­cial chal­lenge fac­ing the part­ner­ship there is very lim­ited scope for any part of our ser­vice to re­main un­re­formed at this time,” he said.

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