Scotland’s leading mental health organisations have called on the Scottish Government to meet its own commitment to increase mental health funding.
As parliamentary consideration of Scotland’s budget for 2024/25 begins, Scotland’s Mental Health Partnership has called for the nation’s mental health and wellbeing to be prioritised in financial planning.
In its Programme for Government, the Scottish Government has pledged to increase spending on mental health services to 10% of the total frontline NHS budget and to commit 25% more resources to mental health during the lifetime of this parliament.
However, recent Public Health Scotland data suggests that even this modest target has not been met. The current figure is only 8.8% - which amounts to a shortfall of £180 million each year.
And a further £30 million was cut from this year’s mental health budget as confirmed in a letter from the Deputy First Minister to the Finance and Public Administration Committee.
Lee Knifton, Chair of Scotland’s Mental Health Partnership, said: “We have seen the publication this year of a new and ambitious Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which adopts our Promote, Prevent, Provide framework. To deliver its vision of ‘a Scotland, free from stigma and inequality, where everyone fulfils their right to achieve the best mental health and wellbeing possible’ will require radical and long term change.
“But to deliver the high-quality mental health services we need now, the Scottish Government must act to meet its own stated commitment by agreeing a budget increase.
“We are therefore calling on ministers to increase spending on mental health to 10% of the total NHS spend during the current budget process. We also call on ministers to restore the £30 million cut from this year’s budget immediately.”