Scotland’s Mental Health Partnership (SMHP) has called for a new National Outcome to be created for mental health.
Responding to the Scottish Government’s current Review of the National Outcomes, the Partnership has argued that an additional twelfth National Outcome should be created given the importance of mental health and wellbeing to the nation.
The National Outcomes Framework currently comprises of eleven Outcomes, including one on health: ’We are active and healthy’. Below this are nine Performance Indicators, only one of which relates to mental health.
“We believe that mental health merits a top level Outcome,” argues Gordon Johnston, SMHP’s Policy Lead. “The mental health and wellbeing of people in Scotland deserves to be recognised as one of the most important issues affecting us. Mental health and wellbeing should sit alongside Education, Economy, Poverty and the other key Outcomes set by the Scottish Government.”
There is, of course, a clear and demonstrable link between mental and physical health. But SMHP argues that that the current inclusion of mental health and wellbeing within a single health National Outcome does not give sufficient prominence to mental health.
A new dedicated National Outcome with associated National Indicators would demonstrate the importance that Scottish Government attaches to mental health and wellbeing. This is especially important with a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy due to be published this month.
The creation of a new National Outcome for mental health and wellbeing would be a clear sign from government that parity of esteem between mental and physical health is more than a slogan. Mental health would be elevated to a much higher level of priority by becoming one of twelve National Outcomes.
This would also add impetus to the drive for the improvement of our mental health and wellbeing as a collective and cross-government effort, in line with the stated role of the National Outcomes to be a catalyst for collaboration and participation.
In addition, the Partnership has called for an amendment to the existing human rights National Outcome to include reference to fighting stigma. This would read “Respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from stigma and discrimination.” SMHP also believes that the National Indicators under this Outcome should be more specific and tied into the publication of SNAP2 and the forthcoming incorporation of human rights treaties into Scots law.