Sunday, 11 January 2015

#3 @ScotParl debate Mental Health 6 January 2015: the briefings

photo taken 6 January 2015 at Scottish Parliament before going in to the debate

[Third in a series of short blog posts about the Scottish Parliament debate on Mental Health,Tuesday 6 January 2015, at which I was a spectator in the public gallery.  Pulling out points that struck me as a common theme, a concern or a lack.]

One of the reasons I decided to attend the debate on mental health at parliament was because of reading the Herald article on Monday 5 January about the briefing from Colin MacKay, Mental Welfare Commission (MWC), 'Watchdog boss calls for more mental health staff to cope with crisis' saying that "Mental health services are struggling to cope amid an increase in the number of vulnerable patients being detained in hospital".

However prior to the debate I had searched the parliament website and also spoke to a person on the phone, asking for information about the business meeting and specifically the mental health debate but couldn't get anything, not even a programme with approximate timings.  It meant that sitting through the debate we spectators were at a disadvantage in terms of information.

During the speeches and interventions there were many mentions made of the briefings by a range of mental health organisations, including the MWC, SAMH, Penumbra, See Me, Inclusion Scotland and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.   These documents obviously influenced the direction of the debate and the topics discussed.  

I would like a copy of all these briefings to make sense of the debate and have asked for this.  So far I have managed to find a link to the SAMH briefing on their website.  

screenshot from SAMH briefing page one

I like the look of this 3 page report, the quotes from people surveyed and the hyperlinks to information.  It is concise and gives statistics to back up the stories.  It says in conclusion:

"Our services are built upon our belief that people with mental health problems can and should be ambitious about their futures."  

I agree with that philosophy and believe that equality of opportunity is for all people, regardless of circumstances or mental health challenges which in life are common to all.

[Updated 11 January 2015 at 10.30am after finding the Health & Social Care Alliance briefing in their resource library.  Although I don't remember the Alliance being mentioned at the debate.]

Here is a screen capture from page 2 of the Alliance briefing where it is critical of the government's Mental Health (Scotland) Bill:

I agree with the Alliance stance on the Bill.  Maybe their critical voice meant that their voice wasn't heard by the ministers?  I know what that feels like.

[Update 12 January 2015, 10.00am, after Twitter conversation with the Alliance]

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