Mental health and wellbeing strategy

Strategy laying out our approach to improving mental health for everyone in Scotland.

13. Financial framework

Delivering sustainable investment in mental health and wellbeing

This Strategy is rightly ambitious. Scottish Government and COSLA will work with partners to optimise all available resources and invest additional resource over time to achieve the outcomes set out in this Strategy.

As recognition of the importance of good mental health and wellbeing has grown over the years, so has investment. Spending on mental health by NHS Scotland reached £1.3 billion in 2021-22, compared to £1.1 billion in 2019-20 and £0.7 billion in 2007-8. This represents an increase in the proportion spent on mental health to 8.8% of total spending by NHS Boards, taking us further towards our ambition to increase spending on mental health services to 10% of the total frontline NHS spending.

Scottish Government's direct budget for mental health has more than doubled during the lifetime of this Parliament, supporting a wide range of support and services across communities and sectors.

As well as the clear benefits to individuals and families, improving mental health and keeping people well is a good economic investment. It has recently been estimated that poor mental health and wellbeing costs the Scottish economy £8.8 billion each year,[21] most of which is due to the lost productivity of people living with mental health conditions, as well as costs incurred by unpaid informal carers.

Investment in mental health and wellbeing across the whole system can benefit the wider economy and, by helping individuals remain economically active, disrupt the cycle of structural inequalities often experienced by those affected by mental ill health. Through the Whole Family Wellbeing Funding, Scottish Government is focused on driving whole system change to improve holistic family support and to shift investment towards earlier, preventative interventions. This means working collectively in a multi-agency way to ensure families get the support they need before they reach crisis point.

Recognising that current financial challenges are likely to continue over the next few years, it is even more important to ensure that investment is effectively targeted to deliver sustainable and high-impact services and support. In this context, this Strategy will provide a framework for prioritising resources across the system over the next 10 years.

Achieving the shared vision set out in the Strategy will require a cross-government, whole system and sustained response. We are committed to working with and investing alongside our local and national partners (public, private and third sector).

Funding decisions and evaluating the impact of investment will be built into the new governance arrangements for the Strategy.

Early priorities for investment include:

  • CAMHS and psychological therapies.
  • Addressing waiting times backlogs.
  • An extension of support for distress.
  • Ongoing implementation of our Suicide Prevention Strategy.
  • Delivering improved community-based mental health and wellbeing support for children, young people and adults.



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