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With 2015 seeing the end of the current Mental Health Strategy we have a real opportunity to look at the successes and failure of the approach we take to tackling mental ill health in Scotland.

Our health professionals do fantastic work to help people suffering from mental ill health. But a lack of resources means that we are often asking medical staff to work with one hand tied behind their back.

Liberal Democrats in government have helped ensure that the NHS in other parts of the UK prioritise mental and physical ill health equally. But this is not yet the case in Scotland.

The Royal College of Nursing and other groups have been clear that mental health is often the poor relation to physical health when it comes to funding within the Scottish NHS. The impact of underinvestment in these crucial services is damaging for patients and medical professionals alike.

One in four people will have mental ill health at some point in their lives. 10% of children and young people in Scotland have mental health problems that are so significant they impact on their daily lives. Without proper support and treatment, the impact can be devastating, affecting education or work, an individual’s home life and their relationships.

In Scotland’s NHS alone, 11,000 staff were signed off as a result of mental ill health over the last two years. Failing to give people the support they need will have a substantial impact beyond the individuals struggling with mental health issues.

I was pleased that mental ill health was one of the first topics debated at the Scottish Parliament after MSPs returned from the Christmas break. But the motion put forward for debate by the Scottish Government made no reference to the concerns of medical groups regarding overstretch in our mental health service. There is no room for complacency as we work to improve mental health provision.

If the Scottish Government refuses to acknowledge these weaknesses we cannot hope that the situation will improve. And we should be clear – there is substantial room for improvement.

NHS boards are failing to meet targets put in place by the Scottish Government. Last year, 90% of young people needing treatment should have been seen within 26 weeks, but in almost half of Scotland’s health boards this was not the case. In December this target was reduced to 18 weeks.

There has been a 12% increase in the number of children and young people waiting upwards of six months for treatment. Six months is an indefensible waiting time – longer is unimaginable.

We have also had reports that two fifths of GPs have said that they have not referred anyone for psychological therapies recently because waiting times are too long. So the current level of referrals does not reflect need, and vulnerable patients are still waiting too long for crucial treatments.

The Scottish Government has pledged £15 million over three years for improvements in primary care level mental health services. This money is welcome but it will not be enough to secure the transformation we need.

As a result of the spending decisions taken in the UK Government’s 2014 Autumn statement, the Scottish Government will receive more than £200 million in extra funding. A substantial proportion of this money has already been pledged to our NHS. It is critical that a fair share of this cash goes towards boosting mental health services.

SNP Ministers have the money they need to make a big difference and improve the way we support Scots suffering with mental ill health. It is time for them to act.

* Jim Hume is the Liberal Democrat MSP for the South of Scotland and the Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesperson on health and housing