The SNP government must act now to protect mental health services, Jackie Baillie has said, as the number of mental health calls to NHS24 has skyrocketed.

Statistics have shown that the number of calls made to NHS24 regarding mental health issues is now seven times higher than it was four years ago – accounting for a 580 percent rise from 20,434 in 2019 to 139,008 in 2022.

The number of calls that have been abandoned in 2022 is now some 63 times higher than in 2019 – rising dramatically from only 645 to 40,836, (6200 percent). In 2019, 3.2 percent of calls were abandoned compared to 29.4 percent in 2022.

This drastic rise in need for mental health support comes as the SNP government is planning to freeze spending on mental health services despite a manifesto commitment to raise spending and CAMHS remains in disarray.

While 4 in 10 people in Scotland think it is harder now than five years ago to access help, Jackie Baillie is demanding that the SNP acts to bolster mental health services.

Dumbarton constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie, said: “It is clear to see from the dramatic rise in mental health calls to NHS24 that Scotland is in the grip of a mental health epidemic.

“The legacy of the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis has been challenging for many people’s wellbeing and I have regular correspondence from constituents who are struggling, but an increase in demand for mental health support of this level is alarming. To me, it appears that the support people need either doesn’t exist or isn’t accessible due to lengthy waiting lists.

“There needs to be support at community level to ensure people are able to get the help which is appropriate to them instead of having to wait for an answer on the end of a phone.

“That the SNP is freezing spending on mental health services in this climate is nothing short of shameful.

“The SNP must start taking their commitment to increase mental health funding to 10 percent of the NHS budget seriously. Their starting point should be reversing their mental health funding freeze in the 2023/34 budget so that this unprecedented demand is met effectively.”


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