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Why is this National Indicator important?
Mental health is a priority issue. We want to live in a Scotland where we all understand that there is no health without good mental health. Mental wellbeing can be a key factor in determining physical wellbeing. It can also influence social circumstances such as employment, family relationships and community participation. Addressing mental wellbeing is, therefore, a consideration in a range of government objectives. Mental health issues are often particularly acute with those on the margins of society and need to be tackled to improve progress on social inclusion objectives. Conversely, mental wellbeing is also influenced by a range of social factors, so is a reasonable indicator of broad government performance.
What will influence this National Indicator?
There are a number of factors pertinent to mental wellbeing:
- Employment and income can improve social position and a sense of control over life situations.
- Problem-coping and solving skills can improve sense of control and alleviate anxiety.
- Physical health can influence ability to undertake life tasks including employment.
- Self-respect and esteem can allow a positive outlook on life situations.
- The quality of the physical and social environment can influence the sense of control and support networks to individuals.
- Access to good quality services can help to build improved strategies for coping and getting on with life.
What is the Government's role?
We are working with local authorities, health boards and a range of other public, private and voluntary service delivery organisations to improve the quality of life and social inclusion of those who experience mental health problems. This is achieved by: providing access to facilities/amenities; providing support; reducing discrimination and prejudice; and helping individuals to enter or stay in employment. Action on a broad range of government priorities such as education, infrastructure and the environment can also help to improve quality of life and wider mental wellbeing.
How are we performing?
The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) asks respondents to read 14 separate statements describing feelings relating to mental wellbeing, and indicate how often they have felt this way over the last two weeks, using a 5 point scale (ranging from none of the time to all of the time). The overall score is calculated by totalling the scores for each item (minimum possible score is 14 and the maximum is 70); the higher a person's score, the better their level of mental wellbeing.
The questionnaire has been included in the Scottish Health Survey from 2008 onwards to allow for future monitoring of trends in mental wellbeing. The mean score in 2008 was 50.0 and has remained at a similar level in 2009 (49.7) and 2010 (49.9).
View data on mental wellbeing
Source: 'Well? What Do You Think?' Survey for the 2006 figure and Scottish Health Survey from 2008 onwards.
An annual increase in the mean WEMWBS score greater than or equal to 0.4 point will indicate performance improving. An annual decrease of greater than or equal to 0.4 point will indicate performance worsening. An annual change within 0.4 point either way will indicate performance maintaining. The threshold of 0.4 point chosen is based on an assessment of the data available at this time, and may need to be reviewed as more information becomes available in the future.
For more information see Scotland Performs Technical Note
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
Who are our partners?
See Me Scotland
Scottish Recovery Network
Related Strategic Objectives
Safer and Stronger
Wealthier and Fairer