The society submitted a written response to the committee’s call for evidence and Heather Connolly from the BPS’ Scottish Division of Health Psychology gave evidence to the committee’s formal oral evidence session.
The report calls for the government to ensure that the long-term impact of the pandemic remains a key consideration in the future design and development of mental health services and support for children and young people, something the BPS explicitly expressed was vitally important, with future policies taking into account the impact of the pandemic on physical health, mental health, education, and social lives.
There is also a focus on the need to expand and develop the psychological professions as an integral part of the public sector workforce, with BPS evidence highlighting the importance of a properly resourced and sustainable mental health workforce to meet the needs of the Scottish population.
The need to mitigate the adverse impact of poverty on the health and wellbeing of children and young people was emphasised, with Heather Connolly quoted saying that, ‘poverty sits in the middle of all the wider determinants that impact our health and wellbeing’, and adding that she warned ‘that a failure to tackle poverty would have a knock-on impact on the use of services that support the health and wellbeing of children and young people’.
Scottish Branch co-chair Dr Rob Morris welcomed the report, saying:
“We are delighted that the committee has used the BPS’ evidence and recommendations to support the actions it is proposing.
“We hope the government will now act on these recommendations to ensure that the health and wellbeing needs of the children of Scotland are fully met.”
Fiona Mackay, the branch’s other co-chair, said that the BPS Psychological Manifesto (Scotland) 2021 had highlighted the importance of prioritising the mental health needs of children and young people, adding:
“In addition, from a public health perspective, it is vital to consider vulnerable and minority groups, who are too often overlooked.”