Mental health and wellbeing strategy: consultation

We want to hear your views on what a new mental health and wellbeing strategy for Scotland should look like. We have asked a series of questions, and your answers to these will help us write the final strategy.

Ministerial Foreword

We all have mental health, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us thought about this more than we might have done before.

Across Scotland, every single day, people asked each other how they were doing. Although things were tough for many people, lots of us also had things that made us feel better during lockdowns. But some of us may also have needed to ask for help, or wished we'd had more help.

We knew before COVID that the right mental health support was not always available for everyone who needed it. We have worked hard to improve this, although we know we still have a lot of work to do. This challenge now looks different as we recover from the pandemic, which has affected everyone in different ways, and has had a more adverse impact on the mental health of some people than others.

As well as these existing challenges, we also know about things that have worked well. Some of these things focus on prevention and early intervention, which can help to stop mental health issues arising. If we take a preventative approach, we also give ourselves a better chance of stopping existing mental health problems from getting worse, and of stopping them from coming back after they have been treated.

Some other things we have focused on are about addressing the underlying reasons behind poor mental health – such as poverty, inequalities, trauma, or poor housing.

We have an opportunity to build on some of the creative things that people, communities and services have done, both before and during the pandemic. These have often been about giving people choices, and helping them in a way that's most convenient for them – such as support being provided online rather than in person.

Over the past two years, the Scottish Government has worked closely together with many people in Scotland, including charities, community groups, and people who provide care and support for those with poor mental wellbeing and mental health conditions and people with lived experience of mental health conditions. We have asked them to help us make sure that the support and services available to people are the right ones, available at the right time, and in the right place.

The changes we have seen so far, including changes to mental health services and increases in the support available in community settings, have only been possible because of people working together to improve things. Our people are our biggest asset. We value the essential contribution that mental health and wellbeing workers make in all settings across the country, each and every day.

Those changes have been supported by a significant increase in funding, with an additional £120 million provided directly by the Scottish Government in 2021-22 to improve mental health and wellbeing.

We will continue to work closely with as many people as possible as we shape our Strategy for the coming years. The opinions of people who have experienced mental health issues are particularly important to us. And that is why we need your views now.

Our ten year Mental Health Strategy was published in 2017. At that time, we committed to review it at the halfway point, which is this year. We think that now is the time to refresh our Strategy to make sure that we have the right plan in place to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland. This includes plans for the mental health and wellbeing workforce.

We also want to build on the Mental Health Transition & Recovery Plan that we published in 2020 in response to the COVID pandemic, and to extend the scope to focus on mental wellbeing too.

This consultation is your chance to help us decide what our overall aims should be, and what actions we should take to achieve those aims in a sustainable way.

We have asked a number of questions in this document. Your answers to these will help us make sure we include the right things in our Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. Your views will also help us with other pieces of work, including thinking about what mental health services our new National Care Service might be responsible for and how we make sure mental health support links with other areas and services like justice, social work and education.

All this, in turn, will mean we are able to move towards achieving our ambitions.

We want to hear your answers to as many, or as few, of these questions as you would like. This may be different depending on whether you are replying as an organisation, as a member of the public, or in any other capacity.

There is also a general question (number 18) if you want to tell us anything else that is not covered by the other questions.

However many questions you answer, and however you do so, your views will be important in helping us write the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy so that we make the biggest possible difference to people's lives.

Kevin Stewart MSP

Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care



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