Response to Scottish Government's Programme for Government 19/20

Julie Cameron, Head of Programmes at MHF Scotland: “We welcome the commitment towards improving standards of perinatal and infant mental healthcare, supported by £50 million of funding, in today’s Programme for Government announcement.

“It’s encouraging to hear that the Government is committed to building on the commitments in last year's programme – for example, with the introduction of the first tranche of counsellors starting work shortly in our schools, which was one of the key recommendations of our own ‘Make it Count’ campaign. 

“We also recognise the positive addition of plans to develop community-based mental health services for children and young people, particularly as they will be able to self-refer.  

“However, today’s announcement falls short of recognising the vital importance of prevention when it comes to the mental health of our young people, now and in the future. 

“The Scottish Government need to invest in creating conditions in which young people can grow into resilient adults through the provision of prevention focused services. This means ensuring that all teachers are fully trained in mental health and brain development, and that all children and young people receive a minimum of one hour of quality PSE each week.

“It’s also crucial that we continue to listen to the voices of our young people to hear more about the factors that impact negatively on their mental health - so we will continue to campaign for the introduction of a “wellbeing questionnaire” for pupils, to help identify and address problems as early as possible and prevent them from escalating. “