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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 April, 2004, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Depression debate for parliament
Rosie Kane
Socialist MSP Rosie Kane has suffered from depression
Present and former MSPs are among thousands of people in Scotland who have suffered from mental ill-health, a Holyrood debate has heard.

Nationalist MSP Stewart Stevenson told the Scottish Parliament that for many people mental ill-health was an "intensely personal experience".

He added that sufferers experienced stigma, job difficulties and poor health support.

Mr Stevenson's comments came during an executive-led debate on mental health.

The MSP for Banff and Buchan said: "In the parliament's last five years, a number of members past and present have suffered bouts of mental ill-health.

"No segment of society is immune."

'Raise performance'

Scottish Socialist MSP for Glasgow Rosie Kane is in recovery after having suffered depression at the end of 2003.

The debate took place on Thursday during National Depression Week and against the backdrop of new mental health legislation in Scotland, which Mr Stevenson said must not be implemented in a "half-hearted" way.

He said: "We must not see the introduction of community-based compulsory treatment orders as an excuse for inadequate levels of hospital service.

"They are not a sticking plaster or a cheap alternative."

Mr Stevenson also warned of the need for better standards among many NHS staff in the mental health field.

He said: "There are many dedicated staff in the NHS and at its best it is very, very good.

"But as these quotes show, at its worst it is very very bad.

"In a caring society we must judge our performance by the worst we do, and narrow the gap by raising the performance of the worst, not lowering the performance of the best."

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