A “TRANSFORMATIONAL” approach is needed to prevent a mental health crisis after the pandemic, a charity has said.

The Mental Health Foundation Scotland has launched a manifesto urging the next Scottish Government to do more to prevent the root causes of poor mental health in the wake of Covid-19.

It comes as new research commissioned by the charity found that more than half (51%) of Scots are not confident they would receive quick access to mental health support if they went to their GP.

Less than half (48%) of those questioned said they are likely to seek professional help for their mental health, however, more than two thirds (68%) said they would be likely to seek professional help for a mild to moderate health problem if there was a guarantee they would get access to appropriate and timely support.

The foundation is proposing a “Mental Health Guarantee” to ensure that people with mild to moderate mental health problems are referred to appropriate community support within six weeks.

Lee Knifton, director of Mental Health Foundation Scotland, said: “The next Scottish Government could face a huge upsurge in people seeking mental health support following the pandemic with social isolation, trauma, bereavement and financial challenges all increasing the risk of poor mental health.

“A significant number of Scots have said they’re not confident they’d receive quick access or the right support from their GP if needed, and they are right to be concerned given many services are already overwhelmed by demand.

“We can’t just treat our way out of the approaching crisis. The time is now for a transformational approach to mental health in Scotland which is why we’re calling for urgent action to create a Wellbeing Society.”

He called for action to tackle the root causes of poor mental health.

The Mental Health Guarantee would ensure that people needing help for problems such as anxiety or depression are quickly referred to community programmes such as exercise referral schemes, local groups and peer support, or talking therapies like cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).

This would reduce the number of people reaching crisis point, ease pressure on clinical mental health services and increase the range of options open to GPs, the charity said.