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by Billy Watson, SAMH
10 June 2021
Associate feature: Time to stand up for Scotland’s mental health

Stethoscope and a brain - Image credit: Adobe Stock

Associate feature: Time to stand up for Scotland’s mental health

There’s no denying that this past year has been incredibly hard for us all.

There is no quick-fix, no magic wand, that will return us to pre-pandemic life.

Indeed, in mental health, a return to ‘normal’ will not be enough.

What we need is ambitious and radical change to combat a growing mental health crisis.

How do we know this? Because ahead of the 2021 election, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) spoke to over 2,500 people, who told us that mental health was a most crucial issue in these difficult times.

The pandemic has challenged the system like never before, but the flaws in the system aren’t new.

In the 2016 election, we asked the Scottish Government to ensure that people experiencing mental health problems should only have to ask once to get help fast.

This ambition was accepted and committed to in the 2017 Mental Health Strategy – yet the progress and outcomes for people during the last term of parliament on the issue have just not been good enough, and by some distance.

Many thousands of children and young people are still turned away from specialist services and support, and in fact the position is worsening.

Adults still wait many months to receive any kind of psychological support. In the last two years, suicide rates have begun to rise again.

We hope we can rely on our MSPs to listen to the stories of hope, fear and aspiration which we hear daily from people who have experienced mental health problems.

SAMH will be there to offer help when we can, and to challenge when it is necessary.

This Scottish Parliament sees many new MSPs, as well as experienced members returning for a further term.

We hope we can rely on each and every one of them to Stand Up for Scotland’s Mental Health.


Billy Watson is the chief executive of SAMH

This article was sponsored by SAMH

To read SAMH’s 2021 manifesto, ‘Standing Up for Scotland’s Mental Health’, visit, follow SAMH on Twitter @SAMHTweets or contact



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