History of mental health improvement in Scotland

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A Mental Health Strategy for Scotland 

A Mental Health Strategy for Scotland 2012-2015 is the Scottish Government’s current policy document for mental health in Scotland.

Mental illness is one of the top public health challenges in Europe. This new strategy brings mental health improvement work and work to improve mental health services together for the first time in a single strategy. It sets out plans to work together with partners to respond to the ongoing challenge of improving mental health and wellbeing and ensuring improved services and outcomes for individuals and communities over the period to 2015.

Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland

Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland (TAMFS): Policy and Action Plan 2009-2011 was launched in May 2009 by Shona Robison, Minister for Public Health and Sport. 

TAMFS sat alongside other policies that aimed to increase local and national action relating to mental health improvement. 

Further to requests from members of the National Mental Health Improvement Network, this paper provides a printable version of the information available on Well Scotland, in support of the implementation of TAMFS. 

The paper is aimed at those leading mental health improvement programmes at regional and local levels. It provides further details of the commitments within TAMFS as well practical ideas, action points and examples of evidence. The consultation draft of TAMFS was used to inform this guidance with additional information and evidence being incorporated. 

Download the printable version of the online guidance

TAMFS looked to build on previous national action, linked to the former National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing. It aimed to secure commitment from more partners, and encourage and support more locally driven action.​

National Self Harm Working Group 

A National Self Harm Working Group was established in August 2009 to take these tasks forward and to map out the next stage of activity in developing services and health improvement approaches. The consultation resulted in the publication of the refreshed paper; Responding to Self-Harm in Scotland: Final ReportWith Inclusion in Mind [PDF: 271kb]: With Inclusion in Mind provides guidance and best practice to enable local authorities to understand and fulfil their duties under Sections 25-31 of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. 

Delivering for Mental Health 

Delivering for mental health [PDF: 873kb]: The mental health delivery plan for Scotland sets out targets and commitments for the development of mental health services. 

​​​​​The National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing 

The National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing ran from 2001-2008 and formed part of the Scottish Executive's wider policy on improving Scotland's health and reducing inequalities. See the National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well-being: action plan 2003-2006 [PDF: 289kb] 

Impact of the National Programme 
A review of the National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing was carried out to assess the impact that it had on mental health improvement in Scotland. See A Review of Scotland's National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing 2003-2006 [external site] 

Earlier Policies, Strategies and Frameworks

Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act (2003) [PDF: 961kb]: The Act, which came into force in October 2005, places a clear statutory duty on the local authority to promote wellbeing and social development for those who have, or have had, a mental disorder. 

choose life [PDF: 209kb]: The Strategy and Action Plan draws on a wide range of ideas, experiences and perspectives from people right across Scotland who have a mental illness or who have experienced a mental illness. 

Scotland's National Dementia Strategy [PDF 1198.46kb] This document from the Scottish Government sets out Scotland's national dementia strategy 

Health improvement policy 

equal minds – Addressing Mental Health Inequalities in Scotland [PDF: 391kb]: How does being a woman or a man, being young or old, or from an ethnic minority community affect mental health? How do poverty and deprivation affect wellbeing? This research paper considers the issues associated with inequalities and mental health. 

Better Health, Better Care: Action Plan [PDF: 2.83mb]: The Action Plan was launched by the Scottish Government in December 2007. It sets out a five year action plan to create a mutual NHS, helping people to sustain and improve their health, particularly in disadvantaged communities, and ensuring better, local and faster access to health care. 

equally well [PDF: 514kb]: A report from the Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities.