Willie Rennie has called for walk-in A&E-style centres for mental health emergencies to be set up in Scotland.
The Lib Dem leader unveiled the new plans to tackle Scotland’s mental health crisis today as he hit the election trail in Clackmannanshire.
He said there should be no “wrong door” for mental health services, and supported the expansion of the workforce by getting more specialists in more locations.
Mr Rennie said: “I’ve lost count of the number of times families have told me of their struggles to get help. Every time it is heart-breaking.”
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The party pledged to provide more walk-in services at mental health emergency centres – similar to A&E – to meet the needs of people in mental health distress or crisis.
Mr Rennie stressed, even before the pandemic, a LibDem research found children and adults waiting up to two years for treatment, which, he said, “must feel like a lifetime”.
“The situation is now so serious that it demands the full weight of the Scottish Liberal Democrat proposals and a government that will put recovery first without distraction,” he added.
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Other proposals include doubling the number of psychiatrists in training for young people, introducing more mental health professionals at GP surgeries and integrating Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) into wider support systems to avoid ‘rejected referrals’.
This week the Lib Dems succeeded in increasing the budget for mental health by £120 million.
Mr Rennie said: “This is a serious intervention and should be the start of changes that mean there is no wrong door in the mental health system.
He also spoke of the changes that the LibDems recently pushed through the Scottish Parliament, like the declaration of a mental health crisis, the appointment of the first mental health minister, and new staff for GP surgeries, A&E, prisons and the police.