Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office
For Immediate Release
Scottish Youth Parliament welcomes
Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy
The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) has welcomed the launch of the Scottish Government’s new ten-year Mental Health Strategy, and the inclusion of a specific commitment to review mental health support for children and young people in school.
Published today (Thursday 30 March, 2017), the strategy has placed a strong emphasis on prevention and early intervention of mental health problems, which SYP has been a strong advocate for through its current mental health campaign, Speak Your Mind.
SYP was especially pleased to see a commitment from the Government to review Personal and Social Education (PSE), and to review counselling services, which was a key recommendation from SYP’s report into young people’s awareness and experience of mental health information, support, and services, Our generation’s epidemic.
Chair of SYP, Terri Smith MSYP, said: “I am pleased to see that the Scottish Government has placed a strong focus on children and young people in its Mental Health Strategy, and in particular, is looking at mental health support in schools. Young people have consistently told us that schools can play a key role in prevention and early intervention through high-quality mental health education and support. However, our research has shown that the quality of education about mental health is inconsistent, so this commitment from the Government to review PSE is especially welcome.
“We will be keen to see how this strategy will link in with the Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Strategy which is due to be launched this autumn.”
The direction the strategy is taking is a positive one, and SYP will be keen to see how it will be implemented over the next ten years.
Terri added: “The publication of this Strategy is very welcome, but what matters now is what happens next. It cannot be allowed to sit on a shelf, and must be implemented and resourced.
“We urge the Scottish Government to ensure this happens as soon as possible. SYP has been closely involved in the development of the Strategy, which we warmly welcome, but young people now need to be part of its implementation. It is crucial that young people themselves continue to be involved as it is rolled out, and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that our generation’s epidemic is tackled once and for all. Scotland’s young people deserve no less.”
Notes to editor
1. All media enquiries to Karen Keith, Communications Officer, 07729 487627/ 0131 557 0452
2. The Scottish Youth Parliament is democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. Their vision for Scotland is of a nation that actively listens to and values the meaningful participation of its children and young people. SYP is grounded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, particularly Article 12, which lays out young people’s right to be listened to on the issues that affect them, and for their views to be given weight.
3. The title of the report, Our generation’s epidemic, comes from a quote from one of the research participants.
4. Find the full report here: Our generation’s epidemic.
5. Find out more about the Speak Your Mind campaign.
Our generation’s epidemic found that, of the young people who took part in the research:
1. 74% do not know what mental health information, support and services are available in their local area.
2. Young people aged between 18 and 26 years old are less likely to find information young person-friendly than those aged between 12 and 17.
3. Young people feel most comfortable talking to a GP or other medical professional, and someone they are close to, about their mental health.
4. Young people feel that there is a range of barriers to talking openly about mental health, including embarrassment, fear of being judged, and a lack of understanding about mental health.
5. One in five young people do not know where to go for advice and support for a mental health problem.
6. 27% of young people do not feel supported to talk about mental health in their school, college, university, or workplace.
7. 18% of young people who consider themselves to have experienced a mental health problem have not accessed mental health services.
8. Young people feel that young person-specific mental health services as particularly positive examples of mental health services.
9. Respondents feel there are a number of issues with mental health services, including accessibility, lack of confidentiality, not being taken seriously due to age, and non-person-centred treatment.
10. Young people feel that it is important to take a human rights-based approach to mental health, and that young people should be educated about their rights when accessing mental health support.