TWO prominent mental health charities are calling on the next Scottish Government to put mental health and wellbeing at the heart of Scotland’s recovery programme.

Samaritans and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) believe that real action is required for suicide prevention to ensure a future where people feel able to ask for help when they are struggling.

Samaritans say that while it is too early to know the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic, their organisation has already seen how this crisis is deepening many of the pressures and inequalities that contribute to poor mental health and that may increase suicide risk.

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Rachel Cackett, executive director of Samaritans Scotland, said: “Now more than ever it is vital that Scotland’s ambitions for strengthening suicide prevention and supporting mental wellbeing rise to the scale of the challenge.

“As we look ahead to the Holyrood election, we see a clear opportunity for the next Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament to put mental health and wellbeing at the heart of Scotland’s recovery.

“That’s why we are calling for all political parties to commit to ambitious, fully funded strategies on suicide prevention and self-harm, to take urgent action to address the impact of inequality on mental health, to invest in on and off-line initiatives to tackle loneliness and isolation, and to work with the third and voluntary sectors to strengthen mental health and wellbeing for people and communities across Scotland.”

SAMH claim that a growing number of people across the country are facing mental health problems and are struggling to access help.

The charity says the new parliament needs to stand up for Scotland’s mental health and back SAMH’s calls for action.

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Carolyn Lochhead, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at SAMH added: “Scotland’s mental health deserves better: this Scottish Parliament election SAMH is Standing Up for Scotland’s Mental Health and we’re calling on prospective MSPs to get behind our calls for action.

“Informed by over 2,500 people across Scotland, many of whom have lived experience of mental health problems, our manifesto sets out 38 actions to make mental health a national priority.

“We have three key priority areas that our next government must focus on; we want access to psychological wellbeing support for everyone who needs it, real action on suicide prevention, and a fully resourced commitment that every child and young person who needs help will get it at the first time of asking, without the threat of rejection

“There’s still time to join our campaign and reach out to your local candidates to ask for their support for Scotland’s mental health, visit to learn more.”