MENTAL health services have been branded “a disgrace” by Liberal Democrats hopeful Ross Stalker. 

The party’s Paisley and Renfrewshire North candidate spoke out as he told The Gazette about his own “mental health journey”, which saw him diagnosed with depression and adult ADHD a few years ago.

Although health and social care is a devolved issue in Scotland, the prospective MP wants to influence reform and put mental health issues at the top of the agenda. 

READ MORE: SNP landslide predicted as Renfrewshire voters to to the polls

“The state of our mental health services in Scotland is a disgrace,” said 31-year-old Mr Stalker. “Locally, it feels like so much attention is being paid to making the social care merger work and that mental health is being left behind, despite all of the kind words from the Scottish and UK governments. 

“When it comes down to the implementation of services, a community mental health team has less ‘face time’ with outpatients – and that is really bad for outcomes.”

Mr Stalker insists he is one of ‘the lucky ones,’ as his treatment was effective, but has said some people who are less fortunate face having to wait months before receiving the right type of care. 

READ MORE: Liberal Democrat Ross Stalker vows to tackle the big issues

He continued: “When I was diagnosed with depression, my consultant recommended that I have a check-up every three months but, because of staffing levels in the community mental health team, that didn’t happen. It turned out to be approximately every six months.

 “I think that level of service is just not acceptable and it results in people being ill for longer than they need to be.”

When asked whether he could deal with the pressure of being an MP, Mr Stalker replied: “Yes, I can. It’s because of the type of job it is. Although being an MP involves a lot of work and long hours, a lot of the hours are flexible. 

“Also, half the job of being a good MP is building a team that can support you.”

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