TIE report highlighted in Holyrood
Last year we reported on a report from the Time for Inclusive Education campaign exploring experience of schools in Scotland among LGBT current pupils and those who have recently left.
The report was raised by opposition member Monica Lennon MSP in debate yesterday, prompting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to promise it was to be acted on – as well as praising the campaign behind the report.
I know that the First Minister is aware that many young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in schools are struggling with their mental health as a result of discriminatory bullying. According to research from the time for inclusive education campaign, 95 per cent of LGBTI people who have experienced bullying in schools say that it has a long-lasting impact on their wellbeing. What assurances can the First Minister give that providing resources and education to tackle mental health problems will be central to the forthcoming mental health strategy and that the strategy will include specific actions for named vulnerable groups more at risk of poor mental health, which is something that Barnardo’s Scotland has asked for in its response on mental health? It is quite an important issue.
The First Minister has expressed support for the TIE campaign. Will she now give a commitment to the Parliament that she will introduce legislation in this session of Parliament? This is a serious issue and there is support throughout the chamber, but there is just no action coming forward.
The member is absolutely right to talk about the issues that LGBTI young people can face because of homophobic bullying. I have said it before and I will say it again: I am a supporter of the TIE campaign, not just because of its objectives but because of the spirited way in which it goes about ensuring that those objectives are taken forward. There is a commitment to take forward the issues that TIE has raised with the Government and we will do that in consultation with TIE.
There is a lot of substance and detail in this issue, across a range of areas of Government responsibility. It is important that we get it right in all those areas. The mental health strategy, which will be published shortly, will provide the direction of travel over the next period. The strategy is, of course, backed by significant additional resources for mental health. Spending on mental health services has increased dramatically over the past few years, but more funding is needed to support more services, not just in treatment but in prevention.
I genuinely hope that, while we will have a spirited debate about the detail of the issue, we can, as a Parliament, get behind the actions that we need to take in this session of Parliament to make really substantial changes that will be to the benefit of young people across our country.