Scotland’s mental health strategy: what you need to know

The SNP Scottish Government has launched it’s new ten-year Mental Health Strategy, setting out 40 actions to improve access to services and ensure people get help earlier.

In government, the SNP has appointed the UK’s first dedicated Mental Health Minister; mental health spending is at record levels; and we have significantly increased the people working in child and adolescent mental health.

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

Here’s how we’ll improve mental health services over the next ten years

This year mental health investment will reach £1 billion for the first time. And £150 million is being invested over the next five years to improve services and find better ways of working.


We will increase investment in the mental health workforce to £35 million over the next five years, to 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. That will mean employing an extra 800 mental health workers across Scotland.


Over the last decade, the number of people working in child and adolescent mental health services has increased by over 50 per cent. The Scottish Government is working with SAMH to review the reasons why some children and young people are rejected for mental health services after a referral – and take action on the findings.

And we will work to improve transitions for young people moving from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services, including potential flexibility to continue CAMHS care and treatment for those aged 18 to 25.


We are establishing a Youth Commission to study and make recommendations on improvements to mental health services for young people. The Commission will be led by young people and will be a partnership between the Scottish Government, Young Scot and SAMH.


We are bringing 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 will ensure every child gets appropriate support in school by reviewing Personal and Social Education, counselling and pastoral guidance. And we will roll-out mental health training for those who support children and young people in schools.

Read Nicola Sturgeon on Scotland’s new Mental Health Strategy here.