Number of Scots reporting signs of depression rises to 11%

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More than one in 10 Scots report having two or more symptoms of depression, after a “steady and significant rise” in the number struggling with the condition.

A total of 11% of those questioned for the 2017 Scottish Health Survey had at least two symptoms, compared to 8% in the 2011 study.

The latest research also showed in the most deprived parts of Scotland 20% of people had two or more symptoms, compared to just 5% in the least deprived communities.

Meanwhile more than a fifth (21%) of those aged 16 to 24 reported having self harmed – figures for 2014 to 2017 showed – with 24 of females in this age group and 19% of males having deliberately hurt themselves.

Rates for self harming have gone from 3% of the population in 2008-09 to 7% in 2014-15, before dropping to 6% in 2016-17, according to the survey.

The figures were released at the same time as Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said the Government was working towards 39 of the 40 actions laid out in its 10-year mental health strategy.

A total of 13 of the actions are either complete or nearly complete, she said, with work on another 26 underway.

Ms Haughey, a former mental health nurse, said only one action – a progress review of strategy in 2022 – was not currently being worked on “for obvious reasons”.

She stated: “Scotland’s 10-year mental health strategy paints a clear and aspiring picture of a Scotland where people get the right help at the right time, free from stigma, and where we treat mental health with the same commitment as we do physical health. I am very proud of the achievements and progress in its first 18 months.

“However, there is still much to do. People now understand mental health better and are more open and willing to seek help. We must ensure our services reflect these changing needs and demands.

“We will do this through our strategy, other significant steps we are taking, and the quarter of a billion pounds of new money we will invest over the next five years.”

But opposition MSPs stressed more was needed from the Scottish Government than “warm words”.

Concerns have been raised in Holyrood about the length of time it can take for some people to get help when they are struggling with their mental health.

Tory public health spokeswoman Annie Wells said: “We all want to see mental health receive the focus it so desperately needs, however I feel this statement is missing the point.

“Since the strategy was introduced last year we have seen CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) waiting times at their worst on record, we’ve seen an audit into rejected referrals highlighting a consistent rate of one in five young people being rejected for treatment, and an Audit Scotland report describing children’s mental health services as ‘complex and fragmented’.

“We’ve heard many warm words, but things don’t seem to be moving in the right direction.”

Labour’s Mary Fee said: “Everyone wants to see mental health on an equal footing to physical health, and the reality for the Scottish Government is they are nowhere near achieving that parity, regardless of their warm words.”

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