Prior to COVID-19, demand for mental health treatment in Scotland was far greater than supply, with long waiting times all too common. Over the past year, services have been further disrupted as we have adjusted to a completely new and difficult way of living. From the restrictions that were placed on who we could see and what we could do, to job losses and bereavement, the pandemic has had an impact on the mental health and wellbeing of every single one of us.
With the negative effects of the pandemic likely to be felt for years to come, it is vital that we prepare now for the expected increase in demand for services. As we approach one year since the beginning of the first national lockdown, and the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections, Holyrood’s Meeting The Mental Health Needs of The Nation event provides the ideal opportunity to share examples of the work that has already started and consider what more needs to be done.
Sessions will look at the needs of specific groups who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, as well as wider population mental health; distress interventions and suicide prevention; and the recovery and renewal of mental health services, which faced many challenges before we were faced with those linked to COVID-19.