Groups call for 'radical' change to Scottish Government Mental Health Strategy

A mental health groups’ partnership has called for the Scottish Government to guarantee mental health prioritisation in all policies and to increase the workforce.

Scottish Mental Health groups call for 'radical change' to Scottish Government Mental Health Strategy.
Scottish Mental Health groups call for 'radical change' to Scottish Government Mental Health Strategy.

Scotland’s Mental Health Partnership has developed a paper outlining proposals for a “radically different mental health and wellbeing strategy for Scotland”.

The paper – set to be published next week – adopts a “promote, prevent and provide” approach and states a workforce strategy that enables new models of person-centred care should be provided.

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The Covid pandemic created a “very different” context for tackling mental health, the paper argues, and states significant changes should be made to the Scottish Government Mental Health Strategy, which was adopted in 2017.

Gordon Johnston, policy lead for the partnership, said: “Scotland is a very different place in 2022. We face new challenges on top of those that existed before Covid.

"Mental health and wellbeing has become more prominent in public consciousness during the pandemic and now is the time to capitalise with bold actions.

“Scotland’s Mental Health Partnership believes a radical new approach is now required to ensure good mental health and wellbeing can be enjoyed by all.”

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A ‘mental health in all policies’ approach across Government and the wider public sector is promoted in the paper, as well as a comprehensive workforce strategy to recruit and train staff.

The proposals state the Government should make a full range of support and treatment options available to meet the individual needs of those who experience mental ill health and distress following “unmet demand for support and lengthy waiting times in many services before Covid-19”, which it states were “exacerbated by the pandemic”.

The paper also states the Government should take a human rights-based approach as a “prerequisite” to the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

“Individual rights must be protected and embedded into new service approaches and design,” the document says. “Wider economic, social and cultural rights – right to adequate standards of living, employment, education, housing, etc. – should also be realised.”

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The paper will be formally unveiled at a Scottish Parliament event on June 15, which will see Kevin Stewart, minister for mental wellbeing and social care, consider how to ensure mental health is prioritised.

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