MSP calls for action ahead of mental health debate

Richard Baker MSP.
Richard Baker MSP.

North East MSP Richard Baker has today called on Scottish Government Ministers to outline what support they are providing to health boards for mental health services ahead of a debate on mental health in the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Baker raised concerns when figures released in September showed an increase in medicines used to treat mental health being prescribed. The figures showed that there was an increase of over 22,000 in Grampian between 2012/13 and 2013/14 in the prescribing of antidepressants alone with figures increasing steadily over the last decade.

Richard Baker said: “In Grampian we saw an increase in drugs being dispensed for mental health issues between 2012/13 and 2013/14 and a steady increase over the last decade which is concerning, particularly the huge increase in the prescription of antidepressant drugs. Tomorrow the Scottish Parliament will debate the issue of mental health and it is imperative that Ministers outline what they plan to do to reverse this worrying upwards trend.

“Of course when patients are diagnosed with mental health issues, it is important that they are treated appropriately however it is also vital that the root causes of such problems are investigated so that patients are not simply parked on medication. Methods such as talking therapies and other interventions are not a cheap option but they do have an important role to play.

“We know that our health board faces chronic underfunding from the Scottish Government and a move to rectify this ensuring that the appropriate funding is available for areas such as mental health would be an important first step but unfortunately Ministers have shown no indication that they will do so. Simply put patients in Grampian deserve better.”