Improving mental health is a priority for the Scottish Government.
Mental illness is one of the major public health challenges in Scotland. Around one in three people are estimated to be affected by mental illness in any one year.
We aim to reform children and young people's mental health services, to take a 21st century approach to adult mental health, to respect, protect and fulfil rights, and to make suicide prevention everybody's business.
We are working to improve mental health by:
- publishing standards for mental health services and psychological therapies
- promoting good mental health and improving mental health services as set out in the Mental Health Strategy 2017 to 2027, assuring delivery through our Mental Health Delivery Board
- improving services for people living with dementia, their families and carers
- improving the lives of those living with autism and/or a learning disability
- reforming mental health services for children and young people
- supporting those who have self-harmed, or are thinking of self-harm
- working to reduce suicide
- reviewing mental health legislation and related guidance
- developing policy and practice on forensic mental health
- organising an annual mental health strategy forum
We are also:
- improving access to mental health services for expectant and new mothers
- funding the Lifelines Scotland programme to provide mental health resources to front line emergency workers
- setting up an Advisory Group on Healthy Body Image to look at ways of improving support for young people and advice for professionals
- establishing the Distress Brief Intervention Programme to support people in distress - read the interim report on the independent evaluation of this pilot from January 2020
- providing quarterly performance reports on the mental health workforce as part of our work to recruit 800 dedicated mental health staff by 2022
- working to ensure that 90% of young people commence treatment for specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health services within 18 weeks of referral
- understanding and addressing adverse childhood experiences ( ACEs)
- tackling social isolation and loneliness with our 'Connected Scotland' strategy
- supporting student mental health through the work of our Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Working Group
- working to improve social care support
We launched our Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027 in March 2017, after a consultation exercise, which set out our approach to mental health services in Scotland. In September 2018 we provided our first progress report on the strategy. We produce bi-annual progress reports on the individual actions in the strategy. The Strategy built on the work carried out as a result of the Mental Health Strategy for Scotland 2012-2015.
Following the publication of the Programme for Government in September 2018, we published our Mental Health programme for Government delivery plan which set out our approach to the mental health commitments.
Autism and/or a learning disability are not mental health conditions, co-occurring mental health problems are typical and the strategies sit within the Minister for Mental Health’s portfolio.
Bills and legislation
The main mental health legislation in Scotland is the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, as amended by the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015.
The 2003 Act applies to people who have a mental illness, personality disorder or learning disability. This is referred to in the Act as "mental disorder".
The Act sets out:
- when and how people can be treated if they have a mental disorder
- when people can be treated or taken into hospital against their will
- what a person's rights are, and the safeguards which ensure that these rights are protected
It also contains measures around named persons, advance statements and advocacy to enhance service users' rights and to promote service users’ involvement in their treatment.
The 2015 Act made changes to allow service users with a mental disorder to access effective treatment quickly and easily. It also contains measures around named persons, advance statements and advocacy to enhance service users' rights and to promote service users’ involvement in their treatment. It introduces a victim notification scheme for victims of mentally disordered offenders. It also makes some changes to the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 in relation to mental health disposals in criminal cases.
You can find more background information about the implementation of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015 in our website archive.
We are currently reviewing mental health legislation and related guidance.
Telephone: 0131 244 4006
Mental Health Directorate
St Andrew’s House