Health bosses in Perth and Kinross are trying to recruit 50% more mental health staff due to the rise in people using services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The region’s health and social care partnership also hope to appoint a Suicide Prevention Coordinator and a Mental Health Link GP amid the lockdown restrictions.
Gordon Paterson, chief officer of the Integrated Joint Board (IJB), laid bare the need for more staff in the mental health sector in a report that went before councillors this week.
Mr Paterson spoke of the need for multi-agency work to prioritise suicide prevention.
He said: “There have been a number of recent suicides within Perth and Kinross and
there is also emerging evidence to indicate increasing prevalence of self-harm.
“To address this, specifically, we have worked on a multi-agency basis
to consider how best to respond and provide the necessary support at a local
“Additionally, we are progressing the appointment of a Suicide Prevention
Coordinator who will support local groups, identify training for staff and the
community and be a direct link between communities and services.
“More broadly, we collaborated with Dundee University to support the delivery of
webinars to 200 non-mental health professionals to enhance their knowledge
and understanding of suicide prevention.”
The health worker also identified the recruitment drive in primary care roles as a direct result of the pandemic.
“We are currently recruiting an additional 50% increase in Mental Health staff
working across Primary Care workforce,” said Mr Paterson.
“This is in response to the increased referrals that are being seen by the service, many of which are related to increased anxiety and distress related to Covid-19.
“A further priority within the Strategy will be the recruitment of a Mental Health
Link GP to develop strong links between GP’s across Perth and Kinross and
all available Mental Health Services.
“This post will be a key contributor to the exploration of a single point of contact for access to mental health services across Perth and Kinross to reduce the number of referrals required and make service more accessible.”
At the meeting the need for more mental health staff was brought into focus as councillors brought up concerns about the sudden deaths of two young people who had been receiving care from NHS Tayside.
Celine Dinis, 22, died following an incident on the Moredun Ward at the Royal Murray Hospital in Perth on January 4.
On Friday, 17-year-old Dylan Kinsella took his life after receiving treatment at Carseview in Dundee.
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