19th March 2021
SAMH is asking the country to join us in Standing Up for Scotland's Mental Health. In the first entry to our campaign blog series, SAMH Senior Public Affairs Officer, Suzi Martin, explains what we're doing to encourage the next Scottish Government to prioritise real change for mental health.
Ahead of the Holyrood election, SAMH is Standing Up for Scotland’s Mental Health. But it’s not enough for us, as an organisation, to say that we want to see change for people with mental health problems; we need politicians to stand up too.
That’s why, over the course of the past six months, we have been meeting with the researchers and policy leads for the five political parties represented in the Scottish Parliament. If we are to see real improvement in Scotland’s mental health, we need to make sure that each political party prioritises mental health in their election campaign and in their manifestos.
We have also been meeting each of the political parties’ Mental Health Spokespeople, to talk to them about the actions the next Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament need to take to make a difference. Specifically, we are asking them to:
- Improve support for children and young people, so they get help at the first time of asking without the threat of rejection
- Increase psychological wellbeing support in communities, so people can get the help they need at the right time for them
- Redouble Scotland’s efforts on suicide prevention, so individuals in communities have the confidence to prevent suicide when they think someone is at risk
Finally, we’re also going to be engaging candidates – people who are standing for election – and this is where you can support SAMH and Stand Up for Scotland’s Mental Health. We need our campaigners and supporters to email their local candidates, asking them to prioritise Scotland’s mental health if they are elected.
Engaging your political representatives, whether in an election period or not, can help to create real change for people. SAMH started campaigning for school-based counselling in 2017, and last week we got news that every secondary school in Scotland now has access to a counsellor. This wouldn’t have been possible without the thousands of people who joined our campaign and called on the Scottish Parliament and Government to deliver school-based counselling.
If we can get political parties and candidates in Scotland to agree to our priorities ahead of the election, it means we can hold them to account once they are in post and have the power to make a difference. So please join SAMH and ask your political representatives to Stand Up for Scotland’s Mental Health!
You can find out more about Standing Up for Scotland's Mental Health, as well as about how you canhelp by contacting your local candidates by visiting samh.org.uk/standup.