Ash Regan MSP recently chaired the first meeting of the Edinburgh Eastern constituency mental health action group, which took place via a video conference.
The organisation of the Group was a re-election pledge of Ms Regan ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections last May. It is believed this may be the first time an MSP has formed such a group looking specifically at mental health in their constituency.
Locally-based charities Carr Gomm, Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre and The Thistle Foundation were in attendance alongside NHS Lothian where a discussion was held over a range of issues, including identifying the mental health needs of Edinburgh Eastern compared to other parts of the Capital and the country.
Ms. Regan said:
“I was pleased to chair this meeting to bring local charities together, alongside NHS Lothian, to understand the specific mental health needs of the Edinburgh Eastern constituency and if there’s more that can be done on a local level to meet those needs.
“Edinburgh Eastern includes some of the areas of highest deprivation in Scotland and because there are known links between poverty and issues relating to mental health, we may need a greater level of support than other constituencies and areas.
“The Scottish Government made mental health a key priority in September’s Programme for Government announcement by pledging to increase mental health investment over the course of this Parliament by at least 25%. In addition, over the next 12 months the government will complete the commitments to recruit 800 additional mental health workers, ensure community wellbeing services are available in every local authority, and to expand the Digital Mental Health Programme.”
Helena Richards, Carr Gomm’s Edinburgh Community Projects Manager, said:
“This was a really good opportunity to meet with our local MSP and share our concerns about the provision of services in our area. As a charity which works in the local community with people around their mental health issues it was great to see Ash taking a lead in finding out more about what the needs and gaps are. We look forward to continuing to engage with her on these issues.”