Charity calls for mental health to be prioritised in government’s recovery plan
Nine in 10 people with cancer in Scotland feel that shielding during the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on their stress levels, a survey has revealed.
The research, for Cancer Support Scotland, also found that 57% of people who had planned surgery delayed were still waiting for their appointments to be rearranged.
More than seven in 10 (71%) said Covid and the lockdown had put more pressure on their family life, with 44% feeling isolated and 43% experiencing an increase to mental health issues.
The charity has now shared its findings with ministers and called for a “major focus” to be placed on mental health and wellbeing in the Scottish Government’s upcoming cancer recovery plan.
Rob Murray, Cancer Support Scotland CEO, said: “We responded swiftly from the very beginning, providing continued mental wellbeing support even in the early stages and adapting to the new needs of people living with cancer in Scotland. The next logical step was to really understand the wider impact Covid-19 has had on mental wellbeing.
“We understand the challenges a global pandemic can bring however cancer does not wait, if anything delays in service only increase anxieties and can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health.
“We have shared our findings with the Scottish Government in a bid to encourage them to ensure mental health and wellbeing is a major focus for the upcoming Cancer Recovery plan announced by the cabinet secretary for health and sport. Scotland made a pledge for parity between mental and physical health - the truth is for those with cancer this has not been the case and the third sector is supporting those with a cancer diagnosis and their family members on a shoestring.
“Whilst these may be statistics, for us at Cancer Support Scotland they are real people. Over the past six months demand for services such as ours across Scotland has increased.”