Delays in mental health services could have a devastating impact on individuals seeking medical advice according to a senior West Dunbartonshire councillor.

Councillor Martin Rooney, leader of the Labour opposition group, says the provision of services should meet local demand as he raised concerns about the rise in mental health cases across the constituency.

He presented a motion to committee last week.

It read: “This council is concerned with the increase in mental health issues as a result of Covid-19 and the public health emergency. 

“There are reports of services not being able to cope with the demand and delays in – and the ability of – public services and partners to meet the demand.

“The council has significant concerns about whether we have adequate capacity to deal with the current caseload and how Covid-19 may impact the HSCP’s ability to recruit.”

Councillor Rooney also pointed out that there had been an increase in West Dunbartonshire suicide rates despite the number of people taking their own lives decreasing in Scotland as a whole. 

In 2020 suicide rates in West Dunbartonshire were three times higher than the least deprived areas of Scotland. 

Councillor Rooney said: “There has clearly been an issue of rising mental health in Scotland over many years.

“This may be down to better awareness and better monitoring or it may just be a reflection of changes within our society.

“There has also been an increase in suicide in West Dunbartonshire.

“Suicide rates in West Dunbartonshire are three times the rate of the least deprived areas of Scotland with 17 suicide deaths recorded in our area during 2020.

“We want more resources into an area to help those most in need.

“It goes without saying that delays or denial of our services can have a devastating impact on people’s mental health.

"It can be a life or death issue.

“We need to make sure that our services locally match the demand and need locally.”

Councillors agreed to note the concerns in Cllr Rooney’s motion and to ask officers for an up-to-date report on the local situation to be brought before a future council meeting