National indicators for mental health in Scotland


One of the uses of the indicators is to measure the current state of Scotland’s mental health.


Mental Health Indicators 

How do we know if Scotland is becoming more mentally healthy or less so? Are there variations in mental wellbeing between different areas of Scotland? How does Scotland's mental health compare to that of other countries? 

NHS Health Scotland was commissioned by the Scottish Government to establish a core set of sustainable mental health indicators to enable national monitoring.

The first ever systematic assessment of the adult population’s overall mental health was completed in 2009, followed by the final indicator set for children and young people in November 2011.

Mental Health Indicators - Adults

NHS Health Scotland [external site] has developed a set of standard measures (indicators) [PDF: 132kb] that can be used to gauge changes in the mental health of Scotland's population.

What will the indicators be used for?

One of the uses for the indicators is to measure the current state of Scotland's mental health. This information will help to inform policy development in many different areas, but particularly those around the provision of services.

Regular updates will help establish the effectiveness of new policies.

The work on establishing a set of indicators has six stages. These are:

  • To identify a set of defined indicators for public mental health that are relevant to mental health improvement in Scotland.
  • To review current data sources and datasets available on a national basis.
  • To develop consensus on a set of indicators that are practical to monitor over time.
  • To recommend new data collection to fill the gaps in the agreed set of indicators.
  • To explore new ways of collecting additional data to fill the gaps in the agreed set of indicators and develop a system of data collection for potential new indicators.
  • To ensure continued data collection of both current and new data. ​​​

Mental Health Indicators - Children and Young People

NHS Health Scotland has now completed work to establish a set of national indicators for children and young people.

The work followed a similar course to the adult mental health indicator set [external site]. The final indicator set for children and young people was launched on the 25 November 2011.

For more information, or to find out about these indicators and the process undertaken please visit the NHS Health Scotland website [external site]

Contact for the indicators work
If you have comments on the indicators programme or require further information, please email