Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Monday) marked the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health.
Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, this year's theme is on the importance of tackling loneliness. Long-term loneliness is closely linked to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. As many as 1 in 4 adults in the UK experienced feelings of loneliness during the pandemic.
Scottish Liberal Democrats revealed last week that than 50,000 people in Scotland attended A&E in a year due to poor mental health.
Mr McArthur commented:
"Mental Health Awareness Week is an important reminder that we all have a role in raising awareness of the need to protect our mental health and wellbeing.
"Poor mental health can affect anyone at any time and nobody should have to face the challenges it presents alone. Unfortunately, the pandemic has exacerbated levels of those struggling with poor mental health and loneliness. In turn, this has placed even greater strain on services that were already stretched before Covid.
"As we look towards the recovery, we need to redouble efforts to reach those who are alone and most vulnerable to ensure nobody is left behind. Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for a renewed focus on early intervention supported by the delivery of more local mental health practitioners.
"Ultimately, there can be no good health without good mental health."
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, added:
"We hope this year’s theme of loneliness will strike a chord with many of us who felt lonely and struggled throughout the Covid pandemic.
"Millions of us experience loneliness from time to time. We know that some people are at higher risk of experiencing loneliness and the evidence shows the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems.
"Loneliness deserves more attention and we’re calling on everyone who has struggled as a result of being lonely to share their experiences. We must work together - as individuals, as a society and through government policy - to reduce loneliness and prevent mental health problems by investing in welcoming, social spaces and new community initiatives."