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Mental Health Unit
Scottish Government
St Andrew’s House
Regent Road
EH1 3DG 

Phone: 0131 244 5207

Email: katherine.christie@gov.scot

Primary Care and Common Mental Health Problems - Implementation Group

Key Change Area 2 of the Mental Health Strategy 2012-15 recognises that common mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, can be both severe and enduring, but the response they will generally require is different from that for illnesses such as schizophrenia:

However, in many ways the sustems for providing care and treatement can look very similar. We need to examine and challenge that model.

Mental Health Strategy Commitments

The following commitments are part of this work strand:

  • Commitment 6: During the period of the Mental Health Strategy we will develop a Scotland-wide approach to improving mental health through new technology in collaboration with NHS 24
  • Commitment 14: We will work with NHS Boards and partners to improve monitoring information about who is accessing services, such as ethnicity, is consistently available to inform decisions about service design and to remove barriers to services
  • Commitment 15: We will work with partners, including the Royal College of General Practitioners and Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland, to increase local knowledge of social prescribing opportunities, including through new technologies which support resources such as the ALISS system which connects existing sources of support and makes local information easy to find. We will also raise awareness, through local health improvement networks, of the benefits of such approaches.
  • Commitment 16: NHS Health Scotland will work with NHS Boards, local authorities and the voluntary sector to ensure staff are confident to use Steps for Stress as an early intervention approach to address common mental health problems
  • Commitment 17: We will work with NHS Boards and partners to more effectively link the work on alcohol and depression and other common mental health problems to improve identification and treatment, with a particular focus on primary care
  • Commitment 18: We will develop an approach to support the better identification and response to trauma in primary care settings and support the creation of a national learning network
  • Commitment 19: We will take forward work, initially in NHS Tayside, but involving the Royal College of General Practitioners as well as social work, the police and others, to develop an approach to test in practice which focuses on improving the response to distress. This will include developing a shared understanding of the challenge and appropriate local responses that engage and support those experiencing distress, as well as support for practitioners. We will develop a methodology for assessing the benefits of such an approach and for improving it over time.
  • Commitment 20: We will take forward the recommendations of the psychological therapies for older people report with NHS Boards and their statutory and voluntary sector partners and in the context of the integration agenda. Access to psychological therapies by older people will be tracked as part of the monitoring of the general psychological therapies access target, which applies to older people in the same way that it applies to the adult population.
  • Commitment 21: We will identify particular challenges and opportunities linked to the mental health of older people and will develop outcome measures related to older people's mental health as part of the work to take forward the integration process
  • Commitment 22: We will work with the Royal College of GPs and other partners to increase the number of people with long term conditions with a co-morbidity of depression or anxiety who are receiving appropriate care and treatment for their mental illness

Remit of the Group

  • Monitor progress on implementation of the Mental Health Strategy commitments and ensure that information about ptogress is disseminated accurately
  • Provide advice on the action necessary to deliver each of the commitments
  • Develop thinking about future developments to build on existing commitments and feed into work that follows the Mental Health Strategy

Membership of the Group

The group is chaired by Penny Curtis, Acting Head of Mental Health and Protection of Rights Division, Scottish Government. The membership is drawn from a wide range of stakeholders.

Sub Groups

The Implementation and Monitoring Group agreed that while work on some of the commitments was well underway, other commitments needed a more focused effort to develop a work plan. It agreed to set up three sub groups:

  • Mental Health and Alcohol (commitment 17)
  • Mental Health of Older People (commitment 20 and 21)
  • Mental Health and Other Long Term Conditions (commitment 22)

Each sub-group has initially been tasked to develop a work plan for approval by the Implementation and Monitoring Group at its next meeting.

Meeting minutes