SNP pledges £500k boost for mental health services

The SNP has pledged half a million pounds towards mental health services. Picture: TSPL
The SNP has pledged half a million pounds towards mental health services. Picture: TSPL
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MENTAL health services are to be boosted by £500,000 of extra funding, the Scottish Government has announced.

The funding comes on top of the existing £1,125,000 allocated to NHS24 for mental health to improve the services it offers to people experiencing low mood, depression and anxiety.

YMCA found mental health slurs are on the rise.

YMCA found mental health slurs are on the rise.

The number of people ­contacting NHS24’s mental health line has more than ­doubled over the past decade, rising from 38,000 in 2006 to 87,000 in 2016.

Speaking during a visit to one of the service’s call centres in Clydebank, Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt said: “This funding package will help NHS24 to improve mental health ­services, whether online or via telephone. This is a key part of our work to intervene early, which we know can help prevent problems from worsening.”

The funding boost comes as a new report out today reveals insults about mental health issues are becoming more commonplace, with words like “retard”, “weirdo” and “psycho” heard in everyday language.

It found four in five young people have heard harmful ­language and negative stereotypes used about people experiencing mental health difficulties.

More than two-fifths (44 per cent) of those questioned said they had heard these types of insults at least weekly.

The YMCA’s findings, published for World Mental Health Day, are based on polls of more than 3,000 people aged between 16 and 24.

The report says: “Insults around mental health have become commonplace in society as words like ‘retard’, ‘mental’, ‘weirdo’, ‘psycho’, and ‘crazy’ infiltrate everyday language.”

Meanwhile, Prince Harry has hailed a new partnership between his Royal Foundation and the Ministry of Defence which aims to place “mental fitness” at the heart of armed forces’ training and support.

The ex-Army officer, who spent ten years in the forces, said that, during his time as a soldier, physical conditioning was important, with troops warming up before a run or a loaded march, and the same approach should be applied to mental health for servicemen and women.

He said: “I have come to realise that we can all do more to promote the positive ­management of our mental health and, in doing so, help prevent some of these issues before they develop.”

The MoD said the move will build upon a recently launched Government strategy aimed at improving mental health in current military workers, civilian staff, their families and veterans.