We’re calling on the next Scottish government to tackle long-standing barriers to timely mental health support in our manifesto for the May elections.

Our manifesto aims to champion the critical role of counselling and psychotherapy in helping Scotland address the mental health impact of Covid 19.

We‘ve been pleased by the five-year investment Scottish Government is providing for funded counselling provision across schools, colleges and universities, following our campaigning by BACP, our members and partners in Scotland.

Meet demand

Our big focus in this manifesto is to close the gap in support for all-ages by investing in targeted community provision which uses the experience of our members to help meet the growing demand for mental health support. Download the Scottish manifesto (pdf).

We are calling for additional targeted support in five core areas:

  1. Improved access and choice in psychological therapies underpinned with greater investment in NHS Scotland’s talking therapies workforce and more accessible community provision, with targeted support for those who have suffered most through the pandemic.
  2. Funding for tiered community-based bereavement support specifically designed to support people who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 or have been bereaved during the pandemic restrictions.
  3. Provide free relationship counselling to lower-income families facing distress from the impact of the pandemic.
  4. Build on the Scottish Government’s important commitments on tackling drug deaths, ensuring psychological support reaches the individuals, families and communities most at risk.
  5. Strengthen Scotland’s economic recovery from COVID-19 by supporting employers, employees and vulnerable groups through counselling in the workplace.

Improving access and choice

Steve Mulligan, our Four Nations Lead, said: “We’ve welcomed the investment and commitment that the Scottish government has shown to the counselling profession through its five-year investment in counselling across Scotland’s education settings.

“We’d like to see the next government build on this commitment by improving both access and choice of timely mental health support for all ages.

“The pandemic has shone a light on the serious mental health inequalities that exist in Scotland, and indeed across the UK.

“The next Scottish government needs to rapidly address this by targeting support at those individuals and communities who have fallen through the gaps, and providing a much more holistic offer which uses Scotland’s counselling and psychotherapy workforce.

“This Holyrood election will be very different, due to the lack of face to face campaigning. However, we encourage our members to engage in any opportunities to highlight our manifesto asks with candidates at online forums or virtual hustings events which will be happening over the coming months, as well as sharing our manifesto with your networks.”