Tayside and Fife have seen a rise in emergency callouts for people experiencing a mental health crisis.
The Scottish Ambulance Service attended 1,588 incidents in 2017 where the main issue was a psychiatric problem — the highest number in 10 years.
In comparison, the previous year had seen a total of 1,284 such incidents, with the average number between 2009 and 2016 being just over 1,300.
Wendy Callander, executive director of Dundee Association for Mental Health, said: “It is not a good thing that an ambulance is needed in the first place, but it is good that people are calling for help.
“For me, the logical explanation for the increase is that there is better awareness of mental health now and people are more likely to seek help.
“People are now calling for help for issues they previously wouldn’t have sought help for.”
In Dundee, there were 310 callouts in 2017, with 175 recorded in Angus, 214 in Perth and Kinross and 889 in Fife. In 2018 so far, there have been 118 incidents across the whole region.
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Mental health-related incidents are identified during the triage process where our ambulance control centre staff will follow a process which identifies any immediately life-threatening illness or injuries, before seeking to identify other health issues.
“The incident would be recorded under the primary health problem given (reason for the call). The category we use on this occasion is ‘psychiatric’.”