Samaritans Scotland calls for prioritisation of mental health funding following the Scottish Government's Autumn Budget
Samaritans' recent 70th anniversary was marked with a reception at the Scottish Parliament, at which our staff and volunteers highlighted the importance of robust mental health support and stressed how crucial properly funded services are to suicide prevention in Scotland.
We are proud to be a lead partner in Suicide Prevention Scotland and welcome the Scottish Government's commitment to ensuring fewer lives are lost to suicide. However, we are disappointed that this commitment wasn't reflected in the Scottish Budget, with a real terms cut to mental health services. We are also concerned, along with our colleagues working in poverty reduction and homelessness, that the budget doesn’t go far enough to tackle these issues, as we know the impact these can have on a person’s mental wellbeing.
Providing high quality and accessible support to those struggling with their mental health will only be achieved with proper investment. We will continue to work with The Scottish Government and other partners in the mental health sector to ensure suicide prevention is prioritised.
Neil Mathers, Executive Director of Samaritans Scotland, said: “This budget represents a real terms cut to mental health services in Scotland. It is vital that people struggling with their mental health have access to high quality, timely support. We welcome Scottish Government’s commitment to suicide prevention but cutting frontline services puts at risk progress to ensure fewer lives are lost to suicide.”