Increase in mental health workforce

Progress towards 800 additional workers in key settings.

More people will be able to access mental health support with over 100 additional mental health workers in key settings recruited across Scotland as of January 2019. This puts the workforce on track to reach 800 additional staff by 2022.

The figures are outlined in the latest quarterly progress report, which provides an update on the Scottish Government’s commitment to increase the number of mental health workers. This increase widens access to dedicated support in key settings like A&Es, GP practices, police station custody suites, and prisons. 

Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey said:

“It’s hugely encouraging that we are on track to recruit 800 dedicated mental health staff by 2022, in line with the plans set out in our mental health strategy. I can speak from experience when I say a career helping support the mental health of people in need of care can be hugely rewarding.

“We are seeing an increasing demand for mental health support across Scotland in a variety of settings and I want to ensure we can provide the best possible care.

“Through our 10-year Mental Health Strategy we are committed to ensuring people get the right help at the right time, free from stigma, and where mental ill-health is treated with the same commitment as physical ailments. 

“I welcome the progress we have made so far, with 39 out 40 actions in our strategy either complete or underway. But I’m determined to go further. We must ensure our services reflect these changing needs and recruitment of over 100 additional mental health workers is a promising step.”


Mental Health Workers Quarterly Performance Report

The second quarterly update is due in April 2019.

The one action in the Mental Health Strategy that is yet to commence is a progress review of the plan in 2022.

Financial Year


Action 15: Setting (WTE)



Custody Suite

GP Practices


Other settings i.e. third sector



 2018 – 2019







Action 15 within the Mental Health Strategy outlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to funding 800 additional mental health workers in key settings, including all A&Es, all GP practices, every police station custody suite, and to our prisons, ensuring that local provision and support is at the heart of our plans.

Additional Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) Mental Health Workers in post as of 1 January 2019 across key and other settings.

We have agreed a reporting framework with the Chief Officers of Integration Authorities on the development of this commitment and who are recruiting the additional mental health workers for their areas. The reporting framework involves quarterly updates being provided to the Scottish Government on progress including how many additional mental health workers have been recruited. 

All 31 Integration Authorities provided detailed data on their confirmed and planned workers to the Scottish Government.


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