1 in 6 people in Scotland have a mental health condition. Scotland has a population of approximately 5,400,000 people. 1/6 of that population has a mental health condition of some sort. That's approximately 900,000 people. This is of course statistics pulled from the Scot Gov website. Keeping in mind a lot of people in this country suffer in silence, so this figure is the tip of the iceberg.
As the title of this article suggests, personal choices of doing drugs and alcohol to get by in this country is not uncommon. Neither is the notion of self harm and suicide, sadly.
According to Health Scotland, around 58,000 people aged 15-64 have drug related issues. Drug misuse deaths in Scotland have increased in all age groups apart from 15-24, however this is on the up. 1 in 4 people in Scotland drink at hazardous rates. Suicide rates were marginally decreased in 2021, which is a welcome statistic but sadly no where near good enough.
Just what is our Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, NHS Scotland, Minister for Mental Health and our overall government doing to try and combat such a large number of people suffering? Well apparently, as part of the Scottish Government's Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027, they are looking to increase their Mental Health workforce by a whopping 800! That was failing according to Community Care who claimed there was a drop of Mental Health Officers between 2017-2021 from 709 to 660. But in July 2022 the Scottish Government proudly posted that they had hired 958 new Mental Health staff in their workforce. That's 958 new workers, plus the existing 660 (approximately 1,618 MHO's overall) to cover approximately 900,000 people with Mental Health issues in our country. That equals to 1 worker for every 556 persons dealing with Mental Health - completely unrealistic.
Their next focuses are "improving support for preventative and less intensive services (tiers 1 and 2 CAMHS) to tackle issues earlier" and "reviewing the role of counselling services in schools".
Well, speaking as someone who was trying to get support back in 2014 from the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service teams in my local community centre in Kilmarnock, it took me a good year and a half to even get a conversation with them, never mind any actual help. If they've had to come up with a new focus from 2017-2027, I doubt that's gotten any better since my days of trying to seek support. Also, it's all well and good saying "we'll improve a service" and "we'll review the role of counselling services in schools" but how are you actually going to do that? It's just words. It's like me, sitting on my fat behind, 4 or 5 stone overweight and saying "I'm going to review and then improve my weight" then going back to ordering my regular Special Satay with Salt and Chili Chips and Fried Rice from my local Chinese takeout - big shout out to the Wing Wah! How are you actually going to improve these services? Where are the reports showing us your actions taken to improve these services?
The final point I see on this statement produced by the Mental Health minister of Scotland is that they'll be "establishing a bi-annual forum of mental health stakeholders to help guide the implementation of actions in the coming years". Who would be these "stakeholders"? According to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, it's people who have have/had Mental Health conditions, carers, friends, families of those with Mental Health conditions, providers of Mental Health services, policy makers and organisations. Here's a survey produced by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland in 2020: They received 342 responses to complete their survey regarding numerous Mental Health related topics which coincides with the research completed to "guide implementation of actions in the coming years". Out of those 342 responders, 94 people from a personal background responded. Is this seriously enough people needed to give feedback regarding how the Mental Welfare Commission are doing?
The Mental Health Minister then has the audacity to add "our efforts must deliver on a human rights-based approach" which is laughable to say the least, coming from some parts of the SNP.
The SNP have done nothing but strip people of their human rights in Scotland. The Hate Crime and Public Order Act 2021 being a prime example of people being prosecuted for speech. Markus Meechan being the most famous case of his rights being completely defecated on by this Scottish Government for making a joke online, albeit this was under the Communications Act 2003, section 127. Or let's have a look at the Scottish Government's behaviour during the whole covid-19 pandemic. Molesting our rights in more ways than 1 by forcing people to comply with shutting their businesses and forcing people to stay in their homes.
Or the worst of them all, the coercion involved regarding the covid vaccinations. Y'know, the familiar "get the jab or else" messages being communicated by the Scottish Government. Not being able to go to events without those covid Passports which they soon disbanded when people were starting to realise and turn against the notion that they had to "prove" they were vaccinated, a sheer molestation of people's sensitive health data under Section 165 of the General Data Protection Act 2018. A scheme which had absolutely no data to prove that it stopped the spread of the virus and more a tool for coercion so more people got vaccinated.
Or how about the most sickening type of coercion completed by the Scottish Government on Christmas Eve 2021. Advising couples trying for IVF "because you're unvaccinated you will no longer be on our fertility programme". That really is like something out of Deng Xiaoping's
commie China, only people were being told they couldn't have children at all due to them being unvaccinated. Even more infuriating was the fact that it was the Scottish Government that initially told people that covid Vaccinations could be detrimental to women trying to breast feed. So they tell women not to get the jabs, quickly change their stance on this position and advise it's safe for them to get the vaccinations then prevent the same women they initially told to avoid getting the jabs, that because they don't have said jabs, they can no longer try for IVF treatment on the NHS, which they actually pay for through their taxes?
Whilst all this is happening, where was the Scottish Government's "human rights-based approach"? Or are they just selectively considering people's human rights when it suits them and makes them look good?
Finally, onto drugs misuse with regard to Mental Health in Scotland. Here's a wild idea to try get people out of the cycles that they are in: Decriminalise drugs.
I know, it's an idea enough to make you gasp but consider this for a second: According to Help Guide, 50% of people who take drugs have intersecting and ongoing mental health issues. So, when that person is taking these drugs, instead of helping them with their drug and Mental Health issues, our country instead punishes them by giving them a criminal record and potentially throwing them into jail. From there, if the person is sent to jail, they are then isolated further from society, which of course furthers the Mental Health issues the person has. They are exposed to the drug epidemic going on in Scottish Prisons (so it doesn't resolve the issue) and meet other actual criminals that can lead to them becoming part of criminal networks within the prison systems to then continue on the outside once the prison term is up. Of course, because that person now has a criminal record their chances of finding employment is extremely difficult and those networks they've built inside prison comes calling outside and they are lead to actual crime to see them by, all still with the same Mental Health and drug issues that got them into this situation, still ongoing untreated and worsened.
Overall, in an ideal Libertarian world for Choice Party UK, we would like to see private healthcare be given a fair crack at the whip to help those that need Mental Health or just general health support. It is evidently clear that the NHS has been overworked and underperforming for decades. It is time for systematic changes in our healthcare system. We believe that allowing competition between private healthcare companies could be key in improving everyone's overall healthcare, not just Mental Health care. For example, almost 20 years ago we were seeing brick phones such as Sony Ericsson W800's released. Due to the competition between Android and Apple, we now see the lavish smartphones on our markets today. Hell, even this article was written on an Android device! Imagine what that same competition could give us in the form of healthcare? Not to mention the release of pressure on our doctors, nurses and Mental Health staff up and down the country, no longer having to care for 5,400,000 people's healthcare, and instead having to cater for their employers patients instead. This all leads to more plausible and realistic workloads and naturally better pay for our doctors, nurses and Mental Health staff up and down the country. I would like to think that this is a better reward for our medical professionals, for the jobs they do, rather than a clap every Thursday.
The "actions" taken by this Scottish Government to combat the nations Mental Health crisis have been limp and ineffective. Everywhere I go, I see angry, upset, vulnerable and overall stressed people. With the cost of living crisis, caused by the big banks, our governments (UK and Scottish) and our utterly useless mixed economy, Mental Health is only going to be on the rise. Every person in the UK, not just Scotland, is going to be feeling the pinch. That is only going to further escalate the Mental Health of the nation. I'm sorry to burst the Scottish Government's bubble of self-admiration, but hiring almost 1,000 new MHO's to combat the current state our nation's Mental Health is in, IS NOT going to make any blind bit of difference. I'd be astounded if in the next 5 years (2027) the Scottish Government made a miraculous dent in our current Mental Health epidemic, like they bullishly predicted in 2017. I just don't see it.
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