Improving Scotland’s mental health

Mental health is one of the most important public health issues in Scotland today.

Last year, the SNP Scottish Government launched its ten-year Mental Health Strategy, setting out 40 actions to improve access to services and ensure people get help earlier.

One year on, out of 40 actions in the Strategy, 13 are complete, or nearly complete and 26 actions are in progress.

But with one in four of us experiencing mental health issues in our lifetime, we need to go further.

Here’s the action we’ll take to improve mental health services.

💷 Mental health investment has reached £1 billion for the first time. And starting this year and progressively increasing over the subsequent four years, investing an additional £250 million in improving mental health services – with most additional investment going to services for children and young people.

👩 In government, the SNP appointed the UK’s first dedicated Mental Health Minister – sending a clear signal of our commitment to improve mental health services.

👨‍⚕️ We will increase investment in the mental health workforce to £35 million over the next five years, employing an additional 800 mental health professionals by 2021-22.  This will ensure there is access to a dedicated mental health professional in all A&E departments, in health centres, in every custody suite in every police station, and prison.

👨‍🏫 We are investing a further £60 million in additional school counselling services, supporting 350 counsellors. This will ensure every High School has a counselling service.

🏥 We have brought together health professionals who work in perinatal and infant mental health to create a Managed Clinical Network for mental health. Mental health problems affect one in five women during pregnancy or in the year after childbirth – that’s why this new expert group will look at how we can improve perinatal mental health services.

🙋‍♀️ We’re also investing £50 million to substantially expand the range of perinatal support available to women.

💷 We have created a task force on Children and Young People’s Mental Health, backed by £5 million funding. The taskforce will examine our whole approach to mental health services, and will develop a blueprint for how services, and surrounding support, can better meet the rapidly changing needs.

📝 We have launched a new Suicide Prevention Action Plan – setting a new goal of reducing Scotland’s suicide rate by 20 per cent by 2022, supported by £3 million of funding and a new National Leadership Group. This is on top of over £2 million annually which is already available to services to provide support for people who may be at risk of suicide.