Highlands and Islands MSP, Edward Mountain has stated that the Highlands is undergoing a “mental health crisis” in a speech to the Scottish Parliament today.
Edward Mountain MSP criticised the SNP Government’s record on mental health provision and said “the consequences of years of under-funding and under-resourcing our mental health teams is stark.”
The MSP continued: “In NHS Highland, our mental health professionals are doing everything they can to help those in need, but they’ve not been helped by this SNP Government or their own health board.
“In the last four years mental health provision has been downgraded. New Craigs Hospital in Inverness has seen a reduction in beds and staff.
“It hasn’t been immune from the devastating impact of staff bullying either - that has taken its toll on our mental health professionals too.
“New Craigs now only has two recovery teams and can only help people when they reach a crisis.
“For some, that’s far too late. Help needs to come far sooner than that.”
Edward Mountain MSP later described how the mental health model is so broken, that the Police are now becoming “the first line of defence in the community to help those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts” in Caithness and Sutherland.
To improve the situation, Edward Mountain MSP said:
“Firstly, we need to see mental health professionals embedded in our GP practices.”
“Secondly, we need to see greater collaboration between NHS Highland and mental health charities, and support groups.
“The likes of James Support Group and Mikeysline, charities who do so much to help Highlanders impacted by mental health issues, must be part of the solution going forward.
“More needs to be done to raise public awareness of what support is available right now.
“We need to introduce effective online portals for mental health support so that people can be signposted to appropriate services and groups in their local area.”