An additional £10 million will be invested to fund more than 30 new ways of supporting mental health in primary care.
The funding, confirmed in this week’s draft budget statement, is part of the Scottish Government’s efforts to improve early intervention and put more focus on prevention.
The £10m will be spent over two years to introduce new innovative ways to support mental health and wellbeing in primary care settings Many of these will focus in improving the physical health of people with severe and enduring mental illness.
There will be improved support in rural areas and places with high social-deprivation. GP link workers will play a key role, helping to signpost people to local community resources such as peer support, and helping them manage their own conditions.
Spending on mental health services in Scotland will break the £1 billion mark for the first time next year - meaning an increase spend of at least £85.7 million on last year – an 8.9% rise.
This forms part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to increase the share of the frontline NHS budget dedicated to mental health in each year of the current parliament. It will ensure an additional investment of £5 billion over the next five years, helping to ensure better access to services.
Last year NHS boards spent £929 million on mental health. In 2017/18, spending will increase to at least £1 billion and Scottish Government investment will rise 32% to £52.2 million. The increase in direct investment is part of an additional £150 million of investment in mental health over five years.
The Scottish Government will shortly publish a new ten year strategy for mental health.
Overall funding for core NHS budgets will increase by more than £320 million in 2017/18.
Maureen Watt, Minister for Mental Health, said: “We want to greatly improve early intervention, so that we can give people timely treatment before more serious problems develop. To do that there needs to be a strong mental health response in primary care settings, and that’s what this £10 million programme will help us to do.
“By testing innovative approaches we can see what works and potentially role these out more widely. In particular we want to look at ways in which improving physical health can improve mental health. We also want to look at how targeting resources in deprived or rural communities can begin to break down some of the health inequalities we are still seeing.
“For the first time there will be £1 billion spent on mental health next year – and £5 billion over the next five years. Our commitment to increase the share of frontline spending dedicated to mental health each year of this parliament shows how seriously we take this issue.
“Through our new strategy for mental health, backed by £150 million, we will set out how we will transform services over the next ten years. This will be based on the principle of ‘ask once, get help fast’, with better access to services, more early intervention and better responses in primary care.”