Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has called for a step change in the way that mental health services are supported as new figures from NUS Scotland revealed a 47% increase in the number of students seeking mental health support.
The figures, published to coincide with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, were obtained by NUS Scotland through a Freedom of Information request to Scotland’s colleges and universities on the mental health services they provide.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"The fact that more students struggling with mental ill health feel confident enough to seek help is welcome and shows the progress that has been made in tackling stigma, but on campus and across the country demand for services is outstripping supply. This is why Liberal Democrats are calling for a step change in the way we support mental health services in Scotland.
"The number of students seeking help has increased by nearly 50%, but the share of the NHS budget spent on mental health has fallen year on year since 2009. There are no specialist mental health inpatient beds for children and young people north of Dundee and Scotland does not even have a mental health strategy any more. This needs to change.
"Boosting mental health services must be a top priority and Scotland needs a dedicated mental health minister to be a champion for people struggling with mental ill health in government."