MSP demands more mental health support for islands

List MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has called on the Scottish government to do more to tackle specific mental health issues that can affect islanders.

Jamie Halcro Johnston

He raised concerns over mental health support in workplaces and quizzed mental health minister Maureen Watt in the Scottish parliament over what the NHS is doing to support employees.

He also pushed the minister on how the organisation was engaging with businesses.

The minister said online support and free training were available. However, Mr Halcro Johnston later said the response failed to address the issues surrounding the islands specifically, and he called on the SNP government to recognise the needs of Scotland’s islands.

Mr Halcro Johnston said those living in island communities, “often find it hardest to get access to those key health services and the support they can provide”.

“Unfortunately, the Scottish government seems to fail to recognise this and it is time the SNP acknowledged that it is imperative that the right mental health support is provided to people in their place of work, wherever that is in Scotland.”

Mr Halcro Johnston also used the debate to say more needs to be done to improve fairness in workplaces. He specifically referred to the challenges some people with multiple sclerosis encounter and pointed out there is a high incidence of MS in the Northern Isles.

He said: “While it is absolutely right that we recognise the real progress that has been made in improving fairness in the workplace and in making real, practical change that improves people’s lives, it is also right that we recognise that there is still a great deal of work which remains to be done”.


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