Quarter Of Scots Not Looking After Mental Health

10 October 2016, 07:33 | Updated: 10 October 2016, 07:36

A woman suffering with depression

The vast majority of Scots consider their mental health is as or more important than physical health but around a quarter of people do not take the time to look after it, a survey has found.

The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) is calling on people to better look after their mental health by talking to friends or family about issues or taking part in more exercise.

The charity conducted a survey to coincide with World Mental Health Day which found 86% thought their mental health and physical health were equally important, while 8% thought their mental health was more important than their physical health.

However, the figures also found that just over a quarter of Scots never take time to look after their mental health.

The online survey of more than 1,000 Scots was carried out by YouGov between October 3 and 5.

Jo Anderson, director of external affairs at SAMH, said: "We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health, and it's important that we look after it.

"This Mental Health Awareness Week we want to get people thinking about their own mental health and the kind of things that improve it.

"Throughout the week we'll be highlighting ideas and inspiration, and hope that people will get involved and share their own experiences.''

The SNP said it has increased funding for psychiatric services since coming to power in 2007 and is committed to extending services.

MSP Clare Haughey, a registered mental health nurse and the deputy convener of Holyrood's Health and Sport Committee, said: "Ensuring everyone is able to get effective mental health treatment is an important step in our efforts to create a healthier, happier society - and the increased funding to sit at nearly £1 billion for psychiatric services is a positive development.

"The SNP is strongly committed to tackling mental health problems across Scotland - evidenced by this funding and the creation of a dedicated Mental Health Minister in the Scottish Government.

"World Mental Health Day is a fantastic opportunity for people to show solidarity with others facing difficulties and to let people know they are supported - and action by the Scottish Government has ensured that this support is accessible and available whenever people need it.''

Scottish Labour's inequalities spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: "Scotland has made some strides in removing the taboos and stigma associated with mental health, but recent findings in the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey still show we have a way to go, particularly in understanding depression.

"The SNP Government in Edinburgh so far simply has not been good enough on mental health. The waiting times figures for treatment for those with mental health conditions are nothing short of scandalous and simply would not be tolerated if replicated in A&E wards or GP surgeries, and further cuts to local services will only make this worse.

"Scotland's forthcoming mental health strategy is an opportunity to start to get things right, all parties say they support parity for mental health, now it's time to deliver it.''