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Almost 9,000 self-harm incidents across the Highlands and the north of Scotland demands action, says election candidate


By Louise Glen

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Molly Nolan, Liberal Democrat candidate. Picture: Gary Anthony
Molly Nolan, Liberal Democrat candidate. Picture: Gary Anthony

The Liberal Democrats in the Highlands have called on the next Scottish Government to “put the recovery and mental health services first” after revealing 8910 self-harm incidents were reported across the north of Scotland over the past five years.

Molly Nolan, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, described the new figures as “devastating” and warned urgent action is needed to prevent a "mental health tidal wave" prompted by the pandemic.

The intervention comes after an investigation from the Highland Liberal Democrats, using a Freedom of Information request. The investigation revealed 2328 number of self-harm incidents were reported across NHS Highland alone, including 432 in just the last year.

Just last month, the National Association of Headteachers and the Royal Colleges of Emergency Medicine and GPs backed calls for primary school teachers to be given training to help spot the signs of pupils who may be hurting themselves.

Ms Nolan said: “The danger and uncertainty of the pandemic has left many people feeling anxious and isolated. Mental health has suffered as a result.

“Such a staggering number of incidents of self-harm is devastating. Urgent action is needed to prevent a mental health tidal wave prompted by the pandemic.

“Clearly not enough is being done to help those in need. We simply have to put the recovery and mental health services first. The alternative could risk lives.

She added: "The next Scottish Government must launch an urgent review of the mental health strategy and ensure local communities are properly supported out of this crisis, including services that young people can access with their families."


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