Soaring numbers of Scots feel lonely ‘most’ or ‘all’ of the time, a report into the health of the nation has found.
The Scottish Health Survey shows rising mental health problems alongside plummeting physical health.
Mental health is the worst on record, with the average score on a wellbeing scale, ranging from 14 to 70, falling from 50 to 47.
The proportion of adults feeling lonely ‘most’ or ‘all’ of the time increased from eight to 11 per cent between 2021 and 2022, while those reporting symptoms of depression rose from eight to 13 per cent between 2009 and 2022.
Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: ‘The SNP’s failure to support frontline mental health services and organisations is having a devastating impact.
Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane has highlighted the need for a ‘clear plan’ to improve Scots’ health
The number of adults feeling lonely increased to 11 per cent, and those reporting depressive symptoms rose even more
‘The shocking findings come against a backdrop of the SNP presiding over Europe’s record drug death rate, the highest number of alcohol deaths since 2008, spiralling A&E waiting times and a failure to meet cancer waiting-time targets for over a decade.’
He called on Health Secretary Michael Matheson to make way for someone ‘focused on addressing these findings and outlining a clear plan to improve the health of Scots’.
The survey also found that between 2003 and 2021 the proportion describing their health as ‘very good’ or ‘good’ ranged from 71 to 77 per cent. In 2022, this dropped to 70 per cent.
More than 4,000 adults responded to the latest report, described by Scottish Labour health spokesman Jackie Baillie as ‘a damning indictment of the SNP’s time in government’.
A Scottish Government spokesman said ministers remained ‘absolutely committed to our public health agenda’ and cited the impact of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis as factors in worsening mental health.