Mental health campaigners have raised serious concerns over a report showing the proportion of Scotland’s NHS budget spent on the sector has dropped over the past five years.
The findings, published by the Scottish parliament’s health committee, also showed wide variations in spending by different health boards and an over reliance on drugs to tackle mental health problems.
It found the proportion of total resources spent on mental health had fallen in four out of five health boards, in some cases by as much as quarter. Only Tayside, Greater Glasgow and Lothian were the exceptions.
Tayside spent 11.7 per cent of its total NHS budget on mental health services, the highest of any council, while Shetland spent the least with 8.1 per cent.
Shona Neil, chief executive of the Scottish Association for Mental Health, said: “Mental health is meant to be one of Scotland’s three clinical priorities but it does not seem to be treated as such. Cancer and coronary heart disease are seen as having more kudos and more likely to win votes.”
Neil added that the research also highlighted the lack of information on how much was spent on mental health by non-NHS bodies, and the fact that there is no mechanism to measure the impact the spending had on outcomes.