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World Mental Health Day

Published: 10 Oct 2015 00:01

Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn comments on World Mental Health Day.

"On World Mental Health day, I am proud to be the first Scottish minister with mental health in my job title. While this is a sign of how seriously we take this issue - I want us to be judged on the actions, not words.

"Demand for services is increasing significantly. The number of people seen by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services has risen by 30 per cent in the last year – more than 1,000 extra patients in the quarter ending June 2015. To respond to this we are investing heavily in the workforce. For example, we've seen a 70 per cent increase in the number of CAMHS psychologists working in Scotland's health service since 2009/10.

"Yes, there are challenges, but we have also made great progress. Waiting times have decreased significantly, we have better data to drive improvement, and the number of deaths by suicide are their lowest level since 1977. This doesn't mean we're complacent. More progress is needed and we continue to work with health boards to attract more staff and bring waiting times down further. That's one of the reasons why we've committed to invest an extra £100 million in mental health over the next five years. This funding will also be used to promote wellbeing, improve patient rights and develop better responses to mental illness in primary care.

"We're moving towards the end of our current mental health strategy and are assessing what the strategy has achieved. Once we have a clear picture of our progress against the 36 commitments we set, we will then decide the best focus for the next strategy.

"The 2015 Mental Health Act will strengthen the framework for mental health legislation making the system more effective and efficient, and promoting patient involvement in their care, through strengthening the position of advocacy and advance statements.

"Mental health has deservedly moved up the agenda and that's something we can all welcome. As treatment improves and the stigma of mental illness decreases, we will see more people coming forward to ask for help. I'm determined that we are able to meet that challenge."