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."

Adopting the three Quality Ambitions for Scotland that health and care is 'person centred', 'safe' and 'effective', the strategy outlines seven key themes for mental health:

  • Working more effectively with families and carers
  • Embedding more peer to peer work and support
  • Increasing the support for self management and self help approaches
  • Extending the anti-stigma agenda forward to include further work on discrimination
  • Focusing on the rights of those with mental illness
  • Developing the outcomes approach to include, personal, social and clinical outcomes
  • Ensuring that we use new technology effectively as a mechanism for providing information and delivering evidence based services

The strategy also includes 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.

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on a new Mental Health Strategy with a ten year vision, to follow on from the previous strategy.

The Health and Sport Committee has published a letter in December 2016 to the Minister for Mental Health, setting out the key issues they believe will improve mental health treatment in Scotland. These key issues were identified following an inquiry into the provision of mental health services for children, adolescents and adults. 

The new Mental Health Strategy 2017 - 2027 has been 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


Mental Health (Scotland) Act

In June 2015 the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill was passed by MSPs. The Bill 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.

Mental Health Minister Jamie Hepburn confirmed during debate that the Scottish Government is to undertake a review on whether learning disability and autism should be included under the definition of mental disorder in the 2003 Act. Work has also begun with the Mental Welfare Commission to discuss putting together a working group to develop "a streamlined and effective approach to reviewing deaths in detention".

Key documents:


Suicide Prevention Strategy 2013 - 2016

In December 2013, the Scottish Government published its Suicide Prevention Strategy 2013 - 2016. The new strategy, which replaces the previous strategy Choose Lifefocuses 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


Other Documents


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