Shetland MSP highlights limits on rural mental health support

Beatrice Wishart, Scottish Liberal Democrat and Shetland MSP,  participated in the World Mental Health members debate in the Scottish Parliament ahead of the annual World Mental Health Day, 10th October. Ms Wishart referred to this year’s theme of Mental Health in an Unequal World, highlighting the need to improve parity of mental health care with physical care the world over.

Ms Wishart stressed that where communities are more spread out, often rural and remote areas, loneliness and isolation can take hold more easily. In such communities access to mental health services is simply tougher. She also Raised the shocking statistic of 11% of in-work suicides in the construction industry and knowledge of the prevalence of poor mental health in groups such as migrant workers, members of the LGBT+ community and young people.

In February of this year Scottish Liberal Democrats led the Scottish Parliament in declaring a mental health crisis. Ms Wishart pointed to plans that could be put in place to reverse this, including: training more mental health specialists for community services, hospitals and schools, establishing new walk-in services at A&E and crisis centres, getting mental health first-aiders into workplaces, and working to create more services closer to where people live and end long waits for diagnosis and treatment.

Ms Wishart said:

“It is long past time to end stigma and discrimination around mental ill health.

“In Scotland alone there is statistic after statistic that proves more must be done.

“I am full of admiration for the Shetland youth group Chillax, who pre-Covid voluntarily started a self-help group to raise awareness of mental health, and developed workshops for schools and youth clubs.

“Pandemic restrictions has only made us all more vulnerable and highlighted the issue.”



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