OVER A THIRD of Scots say the coronavirus pandemic will have a negative effect on their mental health in the future, research by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland has found.
A recent poll shows 40% of Scottish people think their mental health will suffer over the next year.
A YouGov poll of 1,055 people from across Scotland revealed Scots think the pandemic, will be damaging to their mental health over the next year.
RCPsych in Scotland is calling for more investment and commitment for mental health services, to deal with the forthcoming demand.
While just under a third (32%) thought mental health services across Scotland are bad and almost half (46%) said the Scottish Government is investing too little in mental health services during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The survey also showed that for those who had experienced a mental health problem pre-pandemic, one third (33%) said their condition had worsened since March 2020.
And today, the College is launching the Choose Psychiatry in Scotland campaign to encourage more trainee doctors to take up the specialism.
Dr Jane Morris, consultant psychiatrist from RCPsych in Scotland said: “These new statistics are deeply worrying and prove we are dealing with a mental health emergency.
“All of our clinicians are working extremely hard under difficult circumstances.
“Lockdown, bereavement, job losses and isolation are all having a terrible effect on the population’s mental health and it’s concerning that those who were already dealing with mental ill health, have seen their condition deteriorate.
“We need more medical students and doctors to choose psychiatry to keep up with demand, but we also need solid and decisive government action on workforce, infrastructure and funding.”
Abigail Reynolds (37) from Portobello in Edinburgh has two children, Bertie (6) and Laurie (eighteen months).
Abigail was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in 2019 when she was seven months pregnant.
Immediately prior to lockdown she was discharged from inpatient hospital treatment and the plan was to continue treatment and recovery at home – but then lockdown hit.
She said: “Living through a pandemic has really taken its toll. The first few weeks were particularly tough. Face-to-face therapy and weigh-ins stopped.
“Then my boys’ school and nursery closed. There was also the added pressure of isolation and not being able to have the support of my friends and family.
“This was all a huge melting pot and had an enormous effect on my mental state.
“Living with an eating disorder is horrific and trying to recover when suddenly people are panic buying, so you have no access to the food you need for your meal plan, is difficult.
“Social media is constantly full of exercise and weight loss content – it’s just so distressing – and then to suddenly have to think about navigating things like the Eat out to Help Out scheme, it was all just a nightmare.”
Abigail says the prospect of yet more restrictions this winter is extremely daunting, adding: “My sleep and anxiety levels have been badly impacted and the battle to fight the increase in anorexic drive is exhausting and stressful.
“I’d say we need more beds and more early intervention. Early intervention saves lives and ultimately costs the NHS and the taxpayer less.
“There’s going to be a huge fallout mental health-wise from the pandemic, and that’s why I’m supporting the Choose Psychiatry in Scotland campaign.
“Without a doubt, my psychiatrist and her amazing team saved my life. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my psychiatrist.”