EQUALITY of access to mental health services for refugees and asylum seekers is essential in preventing wellbeing crises, the Scottish Greens have said.

Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman has taken the issue to the Scottish minister for mental wellbeing and social care, Kevin Stewart, following a paper that highlighted avoidable failings in the provision of care to New Scots.

The final report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into Asylum Provision in Scotland, by Helena Kennedy KC, made recommendations for both the UK Government and the Scottish Government. 

One of those suggestions was that the Home Office should provide £5 million in annual funding for mental health support.

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After questioning the minister on the issue, Chapman said: "The refugee and asylum system is the UK’s Home Office’s responsibility. But mental health in Scotland is ours, and there is still urgent work we can - and should - do.

“Many of the asylum seekers and refugees that choose to make Scotland their home have fled brutal conflict zones and endured terrible circumstances and trauma. They have already been failed by a cruel and institutionally racist Home Office.”

Chapman went on to stress that specialist services should be included in care offered to asylum seekers and refugees, adding it was “essential to prevent mental health crises in our communities in the future”.

She continued: “There is a terrible human cost to leaving people abandoned. This was clearly highlighted by Baroness Kennedy’s damning report and the testimonies of those affected.

“That is why I have urged the Scottish Government to engage with the Scottish Refugee Council, Refugees for Justice, and other stakeholders to ensure that we understand the scale of need for mental health support and that the systems in place to provide it are robust and sustainable.”