Mental health and wellbeing delivery plan: equality impact assessment

Equalities impact assessment that aims to consider how the Mental Health and Wellbeing Delivery Plan either positively or negatively affects people with different Protected Characteristics.

Executive Summary

As part of the process to develop the Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy ('the Strategy') and Delivery Plan ('the Plan') an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) has been undertaken in line with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). An EQIA aims to consider how a policy may impact, either positively or negatively, on different Protected Characteristics (PCs) and shape the development process accordingly.

Early in the process Scottish Government undertook a literature review and engaged with a range of marginalised and protected characteristic groups, including the Mental Health Equality and Human Rights Forum, ('the Forum') to gather evidence on their mental health experiences. This evidence has been summarised and published in the Mental Health Equality Evidence Report ('the Report') accompanying the Plan.

The Report highlights the causes of mental health inequalities as well as contributions to positive mental health outcomes, for different groups. This includes evidence on social determinants, barriers to access and poor experience of mental health support and services.

The evidence highlighted the range and complexity of mental health inequalities. We worked closely with the Forum on the development of the Strategy and tackling mental health inequality became a key priority shaping the Strategy's vision, outcomes and priorities. The Strategy sets out a bold vision for 'a Scotland free from stigma and inequality, where everyone fulfils their right to achieve the best mental health and wellbeing possible'.

We continued to work with the Forum on the development of the Plan. We recognised that whilst our outcomes are intended to be for the whole population of Scotland, the actions we need to get there will be different for different groups as we seek to tackle mental health inequalities.

Therefore, the Plan takes a twin-track approach with both strategic actions across the delivery plan aimed at tackling the key causes of inequalities (highlighted in the 'Inequality Action Table' at Appendix 1 of the Plan) and more specific actions for some marginalised groups.

Across the evidence, issues relating to access to and the effectiveness of mental health services for people from marginalised groups are predominant. For the duration of the Plan, we will take a more specific focus on actions under Priorities 4 and 7, to create supports and services that are both more accessible and sensitive to marginalised groups' needs. We will continue to work with the Forum, people with lived experience and those developing and delivering supports and services to develop, test and learn from an approach to implementation of these actions.

The analysis presented in this EQIA is a high-level summary of the impact of the actions within this delivery plan on protected characteristic and other marginalised groups (including those living in poverty and low income and remote and rural geographic locations). It is not intended to replace action specific assessments. Specific EQIAs have already begun on all strategic actions within the Plan and will continue to develop alongside actions to ensure that specific equalities issues are fully considered. The Report will be a central aid for the Scottish Government and relevant delivery partners in undertaking further EQIAs for actions going forward. This EQIA should be read and used together with the Report and the Mental Health Evidence Narrative Summary which collaboratively have been used to inform the contents of the Plan.

This EQIA has found that the actions set out the in the Plan will be mainly positive across many protected characteristics, in particular for race, sex, disability, sexual orientation and gender reassignment. For other characteristics, particularly faith and belief, we have more limited data.

We also have limited disaggregated data on the range of different disabilities and minority ethnic groups. Nevertheless, some actions within the Plan will seek to address this, and as part of the ongoing monitoring of this EQIA we will keep this under review. However, we have found no evidence of negative consequences for people with these characteristics at this time.

For some particular groups, including minority ethnic people, women and girls, disabled people and LGBTI+ people, current available evidence suggests that higher levels of poor mental health and wellbeing persist due to experiencing multiple causes of mental health inequalities. Therefore, targeted action as well as wider action to achieve the best mental health and wellbeing possible will be particularly beneficial for these groups.

Specifically, the EQIA considers impacts on equalities groups based on the three tests it is required to address:

  • Does this policy eliminate discrimination for each of the 9 protected characteristics (PCs)? If not is the discrimination justifiable? Can it be mitigated?
  • Does this policy advance equality of opportunity for PC groups?
  • Does this policy foster good relations between people of PC groups?



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