On 18 June 2024, Health in Mind, in collaboration with Change Mental Health and Penumbra, co-hosted a Mental Health Hustings in advance of the UK General Election in July. The hustings was held to open up the vital questions around mental health policy, and help Scottish voters make an informed decision. 

Martin Oxley, Depute Chief Executive at Health in Mind.  

Panel of Representatives of the 5 major parties; Martin Oxley, Health in Mind; and Nick Ward, Change Mental Health

Scotland, and the UK as a whole, is in a growing mental health crisis, with almost 1 in 4 people in Scotland struggling with their mental health. The aftermath of Covid-19, growing crises in cost of living and housing stability, global conflicts such as those in Ukraine and Palestine, and the ongoing climate crisis are all adding more pressure to people’s day-to-day wellbeing. Meanwhile, support services, particularly for adult mental health and early intervention, continue to see real-terms funding cuts which make it increasingly hard to meet this growing need. 

Change Mental Health CEO, Nick Ward, speaking at the hustings, said;

To bring this conversation to the forefront, questions about mental health practise and policy were put to representatives of the 5 major parties: 

  • Cllr Vicky Nicolson, SNP spokesperson for Health & Social Care;  
  • Cllr Christopher Crowdy, Conservative candidate for Edinburgh South 
  • Michael Davidson, Labour candidate for Edinburgh West;  
  • Simon Jay, Green candidate for Bathgate & Linlithgow;  
  • Cllr Sally Pattle, Liberal Democrat candidate for Bathgate & Linlithgow. 

Panellists discussed their personal and party priorities around mental health, as well as exploring issues including young people’s mental health, recent cuts to mental health support, privatisation in health services, decision-making, waiting times, early intervention and more. 

Watch the full event here: 

General Election Mental Health Hustings

Thank you to Penumbra and Change Mental Health for working on this event with us; to Nick Ward for his excellent chairing, and to all the panellists who joined us on the night.