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Scottish government reveals extra funding for mental health

Published on 10/10/17 at 10:50am

The Scottish government, on Mental Health Day, has revealed that it will boost spending on mental health services by £500,000. This tops up the current fund of £1.12 million currently given to NHS 24 for the provision of looking after the nation’s mental health.

The increase in funding will go to ensuring that NHS 24, a health information and self care advice service for Scotland, can handle more calls regarding mental health. This comes as the number of people calling the service has increased rapidly in recent years.

Between 2006 and 2016, the numbers of call received by the service has risen from 38,000 to 87,000 regarding mental health. Back in May of 2017, the service revealed that it had reached the 20 million call mark from its inception 15 years ago.

Scotland, much like the rest of the UK, is struggling with growing demand on its mental health services – it suffered a rise of 8% in suicides during 2016.

Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt said to the BBC: “Building on the plans laid out in our Mental Health Strategy, this £500,000 funding package will help NHS 24 to improve their 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.”

A recent survey conducted in Scotland revealed that 40% of Scottish workers would not openly talk about any mental health issues they were facing for fear of damaging their job prospects. 42% claimed that instead of stating that they were taking leave for mental health issues, they would be more likely to suggest it was a physical ailment instead.

It is claimed that offering better mental health support to individuals within the workplace could save business £8 billion per year. This is due to the high numbers of individuals who struggle with mental health problems, as an estimated 1 in 6 individuals experience a common mental health problem.

Ben Hargreaves

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