The Liberal Democrats are demanding an increase in investment and more staff to help “fix” Scotland’s “overwhelmed" mental health services. 

Health spokesman, Alex Cole-Hamilton, said at the party’s Scottish spring conference: “It’s time for Scotland to put the recovery first and fix our overwhelmed mental health services for good.”

Activists at the conference heard how pressure on services was increasing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

To help tackle issues such as long waiting times, the activists at the conference called for 15% increase in health spending to go towards mental health care.

A motion, passed unanimously, also said an “urgent task for recovery from the pandemic” is to boost the mental health workforce. They added that “key” to this is more counsellors being taken on to complement the work of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.

As well as increasing the number of training places for psychologists and psychiatrists, Mr Cole-Hamilton added: “We need to dramatically expand the number of counsellors and get the health service to help them tackle mental health problems in communities, schools and workplaces.

“The Scottish Government’s mental health strategy was years late and short on ambition. Even before the pandemic struck we had a record number of children waiting over a year for help.

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“Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently championed our national mental health. Already this year our research has shown the toll it is taking. We’ve led Parliament in declaring a crisis and secured £120 million more for services next year.

“But it needs the full weight of our proposals and a government that will put recovery first to fix this for good.”