Scotland's Mental Health Partnership
Deliver an ambitious public health programme to promote good mental health and wellbeing for the whole population. This should include developing community supports, using asset-based approaches to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles, raising health literacy and creating the environmental and social conditions that will allow wellbeing to thrive.
Gemma: "In my experience, when people are given the opportunity to learn about their mental health and have access to resources to help maintain it, they are excited and grateful and jump at the chance...That's why promoting good mental health and wellbeing is so important; because it gives people the opportunity to look after themselves before there is a problem, and it reduces stigma surrounding mental health."
Identify and target specific actions to tackle key risk factors across all policy areas for communities and populations at higher risk of mental ill health and distress, such as inequalities groups. This includes reducing economic insecurity, educational disadvantage and unequal access to the natural environment. Prevention must also include sustaining and expanding self management and peer support initiatives. This will enable those with lived experience of mental ill heath and distress to maintain their recoveries and reduce risk of relapse.
Angela: "For me, if they had prevented the crisis rather than waited for it, it would have avoided so much agony for everyone. For years I needed someone to catch me so I wouldn’t get to crisis. Where I would have otherwise have needed one service, I needed six instead. So, catching things earlier would have avoided a lot. You need a lot more when you’re already in crisis."
Make a full range of flexible, recovery focused support and treatment options available to meet the individual needs of those who experience mental ill health and distress. This should include innovative specialist crisis services, national distress services, access to sufficient, adequately resourced and locally based inpatient services, and also home and community based alternatives within both statutory and third sector delivery. Early intervention, person centred care planning and peer support must be key, every time for every person.
Denise: "If you get the right help and support it does make all the difference. You will feel important, cared for and you will feel wanted and able to be heard without the fear of being judged from what you will say. You will be so much more likely to open up and be a lot more open to receiving any more help you may need.
I have not always had a choice in the type of help and support I have received. And personally I really do feel the difference between the two."
We believe these actions should be delivered through a human rights-based approach and supported by a set of nine underlying principles: lived experience led, reducing inequality, no wrong door approach, meeting community need, early intervention, recovery focused, anti-stigma, real parity, and choice.
What needs to happen now?
We believe there are some immediate actions that the next Scottish Government must take within its first 100 days …
Investment in mental health – Increased investment will be required to meet the additional mental health and distress demands of both the Covid-19 pandemic and the expected economic downturn to follow. We therefore call for a substantial increase in the amount of mental health expenditure in each year of the next parliamentary term.
Children and young people - We call for a National Transitions Strategy to improve outcomes for children and young people experiencing mental ill health in their transitions to adulthood, as proposed in the Disabled Children and Young People (Transitions) (Scotland) Bill.
Distress Brief Intervention – We call for full national implementation of the Distress Brief Intervention programme following its very successful pilot. The implementation should continue the partnership model that has seen the programme become such a success.
We also call for:
The immediate establishment of a cross directorate Prevention Working Group on Mental Ill Health to progress work on social determinants of mental ill health;
A national programme to promote mentally healthy workplaces;
The creation of a comprehensive Mental Health Workforce Plan;
Basic mental health awareness and first aid training for all public sector staff;
Engagement with all public sector funders to establish a new regime including guaranteed multi-year core funding settlements for third sector organisations;
A more proactive approach to mental health provision within primary care in all communities;
A national physical health improvement programme for people with mental ill health to achieve a substantial reduction in the mortality gap by 2026; and
Improved access to nature and to safe leisure environments, particularly for those living in the most deprived areas.
What needs to happen in the next 5 years
Across the next Parliamentary term we call for …
A radically refreshed Mental Health Strategy - In 2022 we will promote a more ambitious vision of a Scotland where good mental health and wellbeing is enjoyed by all. We will call for a set of new actions across the “Promote, Prevent, Provide” framework.
Equalities – The proposed Equality Stakeholder Forum for Mental Health should be adequately supported and resourced to implement an Equalities Action Plan across the “Promote, Prevent, Provide” framework, reporting its progress annually.
Digital innovation – A human rights based approach should be taken to the further development of digital health and social care provision. This would, for example, ensure that choice will always be sought and honoured and digital exclusion reduced.
We also call for:
‘Mental health in all policies’ across government and the wider public sector;
A framework with clear criteria to assess the impact of all policies on population mental health and wellbeing – a Mental Health Impact Assessment;
Development of a Self Harm Strategy for Scotland;
Integration of third sector organisations, local health and community care providers and Community Mental Health Teams;
Work to ensure that rural communities have equal and timely access to mental health support and services;
A common set of standards or specifications for information, support and care, developed through the Mental Health Quality and Safety Board;
A review of data to assess what is needed, what can be collected and how it can be used across mental health;
A new Suicide Prevention Strategy in advance of the current Suicide Action Plan’s expiry in 2022; and
Integrated support for those with a dual diagnosis of mental health and alcohol and/ or drug addiction.