Mental Health in Scotland 2016: consultation

Consultation seeking comments on work already done with major stakeholders in preparation for the next Mental Health Strategy.

Mental Health in Scotland - a 10 year vision


We would welcome your views on our proposed framework and priorities to transform mental health in Scotland.

The new Mental Health Strategy: background

The new Mental Health Strategy will be published in late 2016. It follows a 4-year strategy that ran from 2012 to 2015. The new Strategy will cover a 10 year period.

We have already carried out engagement with people and groups to help us shape and develop the new Strategy. This paper reflects what we have heard and considered so far. We would now like your views on:

a) our priorities for transforming mental health in Scotland;

b) the early actions we propose to take to deliver this transformation; and

c) how we should measure success over the 10 year period.

There are questions at the end of this document. There will also be some public events over the summer to talk about the new Strategy. Details of these events will be available on the Scottish Government's Citizen Space website when they are finalised.

The new Mental Health Strategy: our priorities

Our framework sets out the priorities that we think will deliver significant improvements in the mental health of the population of Scotland. It is organised around life stages:

  • Start Well - ensuring that children and young people have good mental health, and that we act early when problems emerge;
  • Live Well - supporting people to look after themselves to stay mentally and physically healthy, to get help quickly when they need it, and to reduce inequalities for people living with mental health problems
  • Age Well - ensuring that older people are able to access support for mental health problems to support them to live well for as long as possible at home.

This framework does not reflect all the activity that is taking place to support mental health, however it focuses on the 8 priorities we have identified for the next Strategy. These are as follows:

1. Focus on prevention and early intervention for pregnant women and new mothers.

2. Focus on prevention and early intervention for infants, children and young people.

3. Introduce new models of supporting mental health in primary care.

4. Support people to manage their own mental health.

5. Improve access to mental health services and make them more efficient, effective and safe - which is also part of early intervention.

6. Improve the physical health of people with severe and enduring mental health problems to address premature mortality.

7. Focus on 'All of Me': Ensure parity between mental health and physical health.

8. Realise the human rights of people with mental health problems.

We want to embed a human-rights based approach across our priorities and actions. We're using the PANEL approach ( Participation, Accountability, Non-discrimination and equality, Empowerment, and Legislation) to think about actions that deliver on human rights. In particular, Non-discrimination and equality are featuring strongly.

In addition to transforming mental health, progress on the priorities set out in this document will also contribute to reducing death by suicide, and we will reflect that in the new Mental Health Strategy. We will also build on these priorities in a separate Suicide Prevention Strategy which we will publish in 2017.

This work is being supported by £150m of investment over five years.

Our proposed framework


Prevention, early intervention and early years approaches will be central to improving future health and wellbeing. This means starting young. It means tackling problems early - whatever people's age, supporting the attainment of children and young people. It will include support for child and adolescent mental health and mental wellbeing, both within and outwith NHS services. There will be actions to improve perinatal mental health. There will be actions to improve responses to first episode psychosis.


Most people who have a mental health problem access and receive treatment through, and in, primary care. Transformation in the way primary care works will include new approaches to responding to mental health problems. This will include helping people manage their own health. Link workers will direct people to non-clinical services and support them to stay in employment, contribute to the economy, and access employment opportunities.

We will continue our emphasis on improving access to mental health services so that they are more efficient and effective: people need treatment and they need to know they will get that treatment quickly. At the same time, we will focus work on helping to prevent people from becoming ill in the first place. Together, these aims will mean we can deliver on our commitment to Ask Once, Get Help Fast.

There will be a focus on the premature mortality of people with mental health problems. This will include tackling preventable physical health problems within an overall approach to population health. That overall approach includes tackling obesity, smoking, and alcohol and drug misuse. We must address this inequality, and we must emphasise the interdependence of physical and mental health: treating " All of Me".

We will continue to ensure we protect the rights of people with mental health problems, making sure that legislation and statutory guidance support a rights-based approach in practice.

How will we know we are making a difference?

We will measure outputs and outcomes to know whether what is being done is making a difference. We have an opportunity with the 10-year strategy to build an ambitious vision for mental health in Scotland. The actions needed will be revised and updated over the course of the 10 years. The priorities and activity may be different in localities, reflecting strategic priorities in those areas. We are asking a question about the results we expect to see so that we have a collective vision of what we are working towards.


Email: Mental Health Strategy,

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