SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire has given her backing to plans that will help provide an additional 350 school counsellors across Scotland.

Last month, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP announced his draft budget proposals for 2019/20 – outlining a £12 million increase in mental health funding for schools.

If approved by MSPs, the move would take the Scottish Government’s total mental health spend to £1.1 Billion.

By the end of academic year 2019-20, every local authority will also be offered training for teachers in mental health first aid – with an additional 250 school nurses in place by 2022.

80 additional counsellors will also be provided for Scotland’s colleges and universities over the next four years.

Commenting on the proposals, SNP MSP Ruth Maguire said:

 

“Our mental health is one of the most important issues in Scotland today – the SNP has made enormous strides in improving support for mental health services in recent years.

 

“If approved by MSPs, the Scottish Government’s plans will help transform mental health services in schools – benefiting our young people here in Cunninghame South and across the country.

“The SNP are determined to ensure that our children and young people have the support they need at the earliest possible stage – with funding for an additional 350 councillors and 250 school nurses, we will reach those who are living with mental health challenges.

“I am urging my political opponents from across Ayrshire to support the Finance Secretary’s plans and secure this transformative investment for mental health services in schools.”

Also welcoming the announcement, local council group leader Marie Burns said:

“I very much welcome this announcement. Mental Health is an issue frequently highlighted by young people themselves in North Ayrshire and some schools are already using the Pupil Equity Fund from the Scottish Government to address mental health and well-being. This additional funding will support and enhance this work.”

 

NUS Scotland President Liam McCabe also commented on the plans:

“Improving mental health services for students has long been a campaigning priority for NUS Scotland, and the Government’s recognition of the need to tackle the mental health crisis unfolding on Scotland’s campuses is welcome.”