These comments are taken from my opening remarks at SAMH‘s national mental health hustings that were held in Dundee. I was there representing the greens, and there were speakers from the SNP, Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.
As a green, I believe that healthy people and communities are the basis of a socially just society. And I know that our health, mental and physical, is affected by so many things: where we live, our workplace, our education, and so on. So we must address mental health issues not in isolation, but in the round of our individual and social contexts. Greens want to take every opportunity to strengthen the foundations for good health especially tackling income inequality and discrimination and prejudice. We believe Scotland can be a society where we fight poverty, build communities and support everyone in need throughout life.
To achieve this, we must put health and well-being at the centre of government, and focus on measures to make our society’s good health, equality and wellbeing the foundation of all Scottish Government policy.
Mental health has been secondary to physical health for too long, and too long seen as something separate from inequality, poverty and poor local environment. Green MSPs will fight for equal consideration for mental and physical health – in spending, planning and staffing. We need more and better resources to support the ¼ to ⅓ of Scots who experience poor mental health.
We support the Declaration of Rights for Mental Health to ensure that all people with mental health issues are treated equally, with dignity and respect.
Our education system must also better support the mental wellbeing of the next generation. Green MSPs will fight for early action on identifying child mental health issues, and will support the broadening out of our education curriculum to ensure creativity, confidence and well being sit alongside numeracy and literacy.
I believe that, with more greens in the Scottish Parliament, we can, indeed, to quote Billy Watson in SAMH’s manifesto, be “bold, creative and innovative”. Scottish Greens have the radical policies that will help transform our lives and our country for the better.