Mental health strategy 2017-2027: second progress report

Our second progress report on the Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027.

1. Perinatal and Infant Mental Health and Wellbeing

Our vision for women, young children and families is for perinatal and infant mental health services that are responsive, timely and address the changing needs of women and families throughout pregnancy and the early years of life. It is crucial that these services are led by the needs of women, young children and families, building on good practice and learning from both positive and negative experiences of current services. As well as continuing to fund the Perinatal Mental Health Managed Clinical Network (MCN) (Action 16), Programmes for Government in 2018 and 2019 set out our commitment to improving perinatal and infant mental health services.

In March 2019 the MCN published its Delivering Effective Services Report for perinatal and infant mental health services, which put forward a vision for services in Scotland along with recommendations for service improvement. In order to deliver this change, the First Minister committed £50 million to support perinatal and infant mental health services across Scotland. This will include greater investment in Mother and Baby Units, support to third sector services, and developing perinatal mental health community services, and integrated, infant mental health support.

In addition, targeted parenting programmes for families with children aged 3-6 continue to be rolled out (Action 4). Overall, 870 Psychology of Parenting Programme groups have now been delivered (or are currently being delivered) to 5,515 families. 

Action 3 is the development of a web-based resource detailing evidence based psychosocial prevention and early intervention approaches for children and young people. The resource will enable practitioners, services and commissioners to make fully informed decisions about investment in early intervention or prevention approaches is currently underway. The first phase of this resource, covering interventions targeted at 0-3 years, will be launched by the end of 2019, as part of a phased development.

Building on Success: The Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board

Building upon Action 16, The Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board was established in April 2019 in order to implement commitments to improving perinatal and infant mental health. Professor Hugh Masters was appointed as Chair.

Membership of the Programme Board was formed following an initial stakeholder meeting in March 2019. In August 2019 the Programme Board Delivery Plan was published, which sets out in detail actions to be taken in 2019/20 to develop services and implement the recommendations in the MCN Delivering Effective Services Report. In addition, it has established a dedicated group on infant mental health to identify the key actions to take to develop an integrated infant mental health service across Scotland.

The actions set out in the Strategy have led to new commitments, set out in this year’s Programme for Government, and based on the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board’s delivery plan. These include:

  • investing £3 million to establish integrated infant mental health hubs across Scotland; 
  • investing £825,000 for more specialist staffing at the two current Mother and Baby Units in Scotland (St John’s Hospital in NHS Lothian and Leverndale Hospital in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde), enabling them to become centres of expertise; and 
  • developing a community perinatal mental health service across Scotland with £5 million of investment, focusing on women with mild to moderate symptoms of poor mental health.



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