Mental Health in Scotland: Closing the Gaps - Making a Difference: Commitment 13

Mental Health in Scotland: Closing the Gaps - Making a Difference: Commitment 13

Other areas of work

Promotion, Prevention and Communications

The promotion of good mental health (mental well-being) will have direct and indirect benefits on the prevention of mental illness and on helping to address some of the challenges in addressing substance misuse, its care, treatment and rehabilitation. With this in mind an emphasis on substance misuse in mental health promotion activities and wider health promotion and prevention work should be supported. Similarly the promotion of safe use, including abstinence, from alcohol and other drugs will have a beneficial effect on mental health.

These promotion and prevention strategies will involve a range of actions from those delivered to individuals in care and treatment settings such as health advice to heavy drinkers or advice on the impact of cannabis to people with schizophrenia, as well as advice and information to carers, to broad population approaches such as media campaigns, tackling inequalities and alcohol licensing. Wherever possible these health promotion and prevention messages should be delivered in an integrated and co-ordinated way across a range of health campaigns and be based on good evidence of what works in social and public marketing in supporting changes in people's behaviour and attitudes.

There are opportunities within the higher education sector for targeted health promotion and prevention action on substance misuse and mental health at an important transitional stage of young people's lives.

A tiered approach to health promotion and ill health prevention should be considered by all partners. For example coordinated approaches should include:

  • general health promotion and practical advice on alcohol/ drug use for everyone as part of a broader health promotion tackling inequalities campaign;
  • brief intervention and support for people whose current use is such that it could lead to future health problems;
  • harm minimisation approaches and abstinence programmes;
  • assertive follow up services
  • crisis resolution; and
  • residential services.
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