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We must do more and we must do it quicker: MSP Monica Lennon urges action to support the children of alcoholic parents

© Andrew Cawley / DCT MediaMonica Lennon
Monica Lennon

A leading MSP has demanded more urgency to support the children of alcoholic parents.

In Scotland, up to 51,000 children are estimated to live with a parent or carer with an alcohol problem.

Monica Lennon, MSP for Central Scotland, previously told The Sunday Post how her father’s death in 2015 was related to his alcoholism.

Scottish ministers aim to provide mental health counsellors in every secondary school in the country by September next year to tackle growing levels of anxiety and depression.

“Please don’t go to the pub, daddy”: Seven words that changed functioning alcoholic’s life – click here to read more

But at Holyrood on Thursday, Education Secretary John Swinney was challenged by Ms Lennon over progress, saying constituents have raised concerns about the number of young people who have considered, attempted or completed suicide.

She said there is disappointment that the rollout of school-based counselling in South Lanarkshire has been delayed.

Ms Lennon said: “If you are a child or young person whose parents are getting drunk regularly or are alcohol-dependent, you can feel very isolated and anxious.

“This is the reality for tens of thousands of young Scots, yet very little support is available.

“SNP ministers have been slow to put support in place for children and the delayed rollout of school-based counselling is disappointing.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are engaging stakeholders on our draft Action Plan for our Rights, Respect and Recovery Strategy.

“This includes actions for children, young people and families affected by alcohol and drug use to be safe, healthy, included and supported.

“Protecting children and young people will be a priority.”