Four in 10 people in Scotland think it is harder now than five years ago to access mental health services, according to research.
The survey also found 69% of 1,080 Scottish adults questioned said funding for mental and physical health should be prioritised equally.
Leading psychiatrists are now calling on the Scottish Government to ensure mental health is not dealt a “hammer blow” as it prepares to rubber-stamp its budget later this month.
Concerns around mental health funding have been exacerbated by plans to create a National Care Service which would centralise the social care sector.
Funding for the sector rose from £273.9 million in 2021/22 to £290.2 million in 2023, however funding for the upcoming financial year – 2023/24 – has been frozen at this rate.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) in Scotland is urging the Government to ensure the mental health sector receives the funding it needs.
Dr Jess Sussmann, consultant psychiatrist and policy lead for RCPsych in Scotland, said: “Our poll shows what the public really think. That services are struggling and the majority want funding for physical and mental health to be equal.
“The Scottish Government’s decision to freeze mental health budgets does not reflect the public’s wish for mental and physical health to be prioritised equally.
“We’re also worried that proposals to move mental health services into the new National Care Service lacks clarity at a time when frontline services are struggling to meet demand, especially with the cost-of-living crisis and the fallout from the pandemic.
“It’s simple. Failure to increase the mental health budget is a failure in recognising ever-rising demand.
“It’s time the Scottish Government came up with a solution as mental health must not be dealt a hammer blow.”
The survey of 1,080 Scottish adults was carried out by YouGov between January 23 and 25 this year.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The mental health workforce has expanded significantly, with a record number of staff providing more varied support to a larger number of people than ever before. The psychology and CAMHS staffing has more than doubled since 2007.
“Direct investment in mental health has more than doubled since 2020-21 and we continue to invest in growing the workforce and seek further improvements.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe