Mental Health

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Mental Health Strategy

In August 2012, the Scottish Government published its Mental Health Strategy for Scotland 2012 - 2015, setting out "a range of key commitments across the full spectrum of mental health improvement, services and recovery to ensure delivery of effective, quality care and treatment for people with a mental illness, their carers and families."

The strategy included 36 specific commitments to be delivered over the period to 2015 which cover the full spectrum of mental health improvement, prevention, care, services, and recovery.

Following a consultation, the new Mental Health Strategy 2017 - 2027 was published in April 2017, with steps to improve delivery of child and adolescent mental health services, including an audit to look at concerns over rejected referrals and action taken as a result. The Strategy contains 40 actions guided by an ambition “that we must prevent and treat mental health problems with the same commitment, passion and drive as we do with physical health problems”. According to the Scottish Government, that means working to improve:

  • prevention, early intervention, and physical wellbeing
  • access to treatment, and joined up accessible services
  • rights, information use, and planning

 The Scottish Government has published details of the governance and monitoring arrangements for implementing the new Strategy.

Mental Health (Scotland) Act

In June 2015 the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill was passed by MSPs. The Act makes a large number of "minor technical changes" to the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 to help people with a mental disorder access effective treatment more quickly and easily. These include:

  • Measures to increase the use of advance statements, help service users have greater involvement in decisions about their treatment and ensure the Mental Welfare Commission is better informed about the use of advance statements.
  • An opt-out option for services users in relation to the role of the named person.
  • An extension of the right of appeal against being detained in conditions of excessive security to those who are detained in medium-secure units.
  • The introduction of a victim notification scheme for victims of mentally disordered offenders.

The majority of Parts 1 and 2 of the Act, along with associated regulations, came into force from 30 June 2017. 

Suicide Prevention 

In December 2013, the Scottish Government published its Suicide Prevention Strategy 2013 - 2016. The strategy replaced the previous strategy Choose Life and focuses on 5 key themes of work in communities and in services:

  • Responding to people in distress
  • Talking about suicide
  • Improving the NHS response to suicide
  • Developing the evidence base
  • Supporting change and improvement

In late October and early November 2017, a short series of pre-engagement events are taking place to help inform the development of a new suicide prevention action plan. The Scottish Government published Suicide prevention action plan: engagement paper, inviting public comment on proposals for the new action plan. The Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee also heard evidence from the Minister for Mental Health about the Government's ambitions and the consultation that has been taking place on the refreshed preventative measures. 

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