Mental health support treated as a Cinderella service

I am not surprised that Fife’s police officers spend a great deal of time supporting people with mental health emergencies (front page story Courier, today). But they also devote considerable time and resource on complaints, and possible crimes, which arise because the complainant or the complained about, or both, are “vulnerable” due to mental health issues.

I have recently been privileged to see East Neuk community police officers show outstanding sensitivity, patience and care when dealing with some of my constituents.

Police, like GPs, teachers, social workers, housing officers and others who work in public services, are forced to deal with the human fall-out of a health and social care system which is manifestly failing many adults and children. Accessing the mental health care they need is too difficult for too many people – and by the time they access it, it is too late and too little.

Despite promises from politicians of all parties, mental health is still treated as a Cinderella service. Until policy and spending matches the rhetoric on mental health, we will all – whether we are ‘vulnerable” or not – pay a price for this neglect. We can ill-afford it.

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