Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027

The Scottish Government's approach to mental health from 2017 to 2027 – a 10 year vision.


photograph of Maureen Watt MSP, Minister for Mental Health

Challenges with mental health have touched every life in Scotland: from a young person struggling in school, or a colleague absent from work, to an elderly relative living with dementia. We have all seen, and often personally felt and experienced, the impact of mental health problems.

Many mental health problems will be preventable, and almost all are treatable, so people can either fully recover or manage their conditions successfully and live as healthy, happy and productive lives as possible.

Our guiding ambition for mental health is simple but, if realised, will change and save lives - that we must prevent and treat mental health problems with the same commitment, passion and drive as we do with physical health problems.

That means working to improve:

  • Prevention and early intervention;
  • Access to treatment, and joined up accessible services;
  • The physical wellbeing of people with mental health problems;
  • Rights, information use, and planning.

We want to create a Scotland where all stigma and discrimination related to mental health is challenged, and our collective understanding of how to prevent and treat mental health problems is increased. We want to see a nation where mental healthcare is person-centred and recognises the life-changing benefits of fast, effective treatment. We want a Scotland where we act on the knowledge that failing to recognise, prioritise and treat mental health problems costs not only our economy, but harms individuals and communities. In short, we share the ambition that you should only have to ask once to get help fast.

In the last decade mental health services have changed dramatically, with excellent work from NHS Board staff, primary care practitioners, councils and third sector organisations, making life-changing, and life-saving, interventions every day.

But we have the ambition to go further, and we know this ambition is shared across Scotland. Through this strategy we set out 40 initial actions to better join up our services, to refocus these and to deliver them when they are needed.

These actions include:

  • Increasing the mental health workforce by 800 additional mental health workers in our hospitals, GP surgeries, prisons and police stations.
  • Improving support for preventative and less intensive services (tiers 1 and 2 CAMHS) to tackle issues earlier.
  • Reviewing the role of counselling services in schools.
  • Testing and evaluating the most effective and sustainable models of supporting mental health in primary care
  • Establishing a bi-annual forum of mental health stakeholders to help guide the implementation of actions in the coming years.

Our efforts must deliver on a human rights-based approach, so that people in the most marginalised of situations are prioritised in achieving health.

We can't achieve a sea change in mental health alone. This strategy also underpins how we will work in partnership with others to champion the better Scotland our people deserve.

Maureen Watt MSP
Minister for Mental Health



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