Thank you for contacting me regarding the growing mental health impact of COVID-19.
While Scotland has been in lockdown for the last few months, many people will have experienced raised levels of stress and anxiety. This has after all been a very difficult time.
The peak of the mental health impact of the pandemic is still ahead of us – many people were waiting too long for mental health support before the pandemic and now services are overwhelmed.
This SNP government is already responsible for the longest ever waiting times for children needing to access mental health support. And their attempts to provide additional mental health workers have also fallen short.
The Scottish Conservatives believe it is vital to support mental health services to ensure everyone is able to access support when they need it. Scotland’s mental health services were under pressure before the COVID-19 pandemic and now face immense challenges. We would support them by increasing the share of health funding spent on mental health services to 10 per cent by the end of the next Parliament. We would also kickstart a permanent shift towards community mental health services by expanding programmes such as cognitive behavioural therapy, social prescribing, exercise referral schemes and peer support.
We must ensure that as we come out of the COVID-19 lockdown this public health emergency does not turn into a mental health crisis.
Once again, I thank you for taking the time to contact me on this matter.