Even if your circumstances have not been too adversely affected by the pandemic, chances are you have gone through some mental health challenges. Even people who were coping pretty well have found the dark and cold Winter lockdown pretty grim.
And if you have had to suffer bereavement, loss or financial struggles along the way, it’s been so much harder.
A study tracking Scotland’s mental health during the pandemic found that there was a significant rise in those contemplating suicide or suffering from Depression and Anxiety. The Herald reports:
The second wave of the Scottish Covid-19 Mental Health Tracker survey, which was carried out between mid July and mid August, a time when Covid-19 restrictions had been eased, showed 13.3 per cent had thought about taking their life in the last week.
That is up from the 9.6% recorded in the first wave of the research, which took place between May 28 and June 21.
That was in the Summer when restrictions were at their lowest point and the weather was at its finest
Last month the same paper reported a Federation of Small Businesses survey which found that half of the small business owners who responded said that they were struggling with mental health.
And another report suggested that almost half of young people had said that their mental health had deteriorated due to not being able to see their friends and worrying about their future prospects because of the state of the economy.
Even before the pandemic struck, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services struggled to meet demand. It was not unusual for young people to wait more than a year even to be seen. You don’t have to be that good at maths to work out that even if you recover within another year, your life has still been blighted for more than a third of your secondary education. That has got to have an impact on life chances.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats have been badgering the Government for years to improve mental health services. Now that these under-resourced services are going to feel any more pressure, the party will call for a mental health crisis to be declared in a parliamentary debate this afternoon.
In their opposition day slot, they will ask the Parliament for the second time to declare the situation a crisis. When the issue was last debated back in November 2019 (we are consistent, after all), the Greens and SNP ganged up to remove all reference to a crisis from our motion.
Our Mental Health Spokesperson Rebecca Bell explained why it was so important for the Government to act to help those who are struggling with mental ill health:
“People are struggling. When they turn for help, it is often not there. Problems that can start small, become crises as help is either lacking or arrives too late. Waiting times for mental health services are long and the targets for treating people have never been met.
“That was true before the pandemic, but the situation is now even graver. Sadly with resources vastly outstripped by the demands on services from those who need mental health treatment, departments are forced to focus solely on the acute end of the scale. that means more people are left sick for longer, and just getting worse. We need to aim for prevention as well so fewer people suffer mental ill health in the first place
“We need a transformative investment in mental health, new services which can be quickly accessed locally, and to end the waits of up to two years for help. But that won’t happen unless Parliament first accepts that there is a mental health crisis.
“The Scottish Government voted in 2019 to delete this declaration. As a result, services went into the pandemic still in a weak position.
“Just like the climate crisis, fixing the problem starts with accepting that there is a problem. I hope Parliament will finally do that this afternoon.”
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings