Much has changed since the Second Annual Progress Report on the Mental Health Strategy 2017-27. In 2020, Scotland, along with the rest of the world, was faced with an unprecedented public health crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic. The mental health impacts of this have been significant, with people across the country affected every day. Underlying inequalities have meant that those mental health impacts have not been felt equally. This Government continues to focus on mental health as an absolute priority, and it has never been so critical that we do so.
The impacts of the pandemic at a societal level have meant that mental health has been brought to the fore like never before. We've continued to chart our path through the pandemic with the vision that we laid out in our Mental Health Transition & Recovery Plan, which is of "a Scotland where people can get the right help at the right time, expect recovery, and fully enjoy their rights, free from discrimination and stigma."
Now, with the vaccination programme well underway, and we are able to think about the gradual easing of restrictions, it will be ever more important that we continue to ensure we have the right mental health support in place.
The events of the past year have been traumatic and challenging, and we continue to see emerging and changing effects on mental health and wellbeing. This means that we are clearly operating in a different context than that of November 2019, when we published the previous progress report on the Mental Health Strategy 2017-27.
Therefore, this annual report on the Strategy focuses on the specific progress we have made over the past year. It also seeks to provide a wider picture of where we find ourselves now, and the work we are taking forward to improve the mental health of the people of Scotland.
Minister for Mental Health