Mental Health Strategy (Implementation)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

10. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the implementation of its mental health strategy. (S5O-02066)

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

In the summer, I will present to the Scottish Parliament an annual report on the mental health strategy’s actions. Progress reports for all 40 actions that are in the strategy were uploaded to the Scottish Government’s website in December, when we also uploaded a report that summarised progress on key deliverables. I would be happy to provide Mairi Gougeon with links to those reports.

We held the second biannual forum of stakeholders on 6 December. The forum is intended to track progress on the actions that are in the strategy, and to help to develop new actions in future years that will help us to meet our ambitions. At the meeting in December, I spoke about our achievements over the previous half year, the challenges that lie ahead and the roles of everyone involved, going forward.

Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

I was contacted by a pressure group from Mackie academy in Stonehaven that is concerned about the support that is available for teenagers and children who are struggling with mental health issues. The group particularly mentioned lack of training for general practitioners, who have told some children that they are “going through a phase”, and it asked for mental health training to be included as part of teacher training, for early intervention.

Given that early intervention is vital, will the minister outline how funding for the mental health strategy is being targeted in that regard? Are measures such as having on-site counsellors or community psychiatric nurses in schools being considered?

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

I completely agree that focusing on prevention and early intervention is fundamental if we are to achieve our mental health strategy’s vision and aspirations. Training has a central role to play, which is why action 2 of the strategy is to

“Roll out improved mental health training for those who support young people in educational settings.”

Since 2014, the Scottish Government has provided £6,000 per annum to Education Scotland for the roll-out to local authorities of Scotland’s mental health first-aid training for children and young people. The aim is to train staff in secondary school communities so that they are more confident about approaching pupils who might be struggling with a mental health problem. The training complements a range of mental health strategies that are in place in local authorities.

Photo of Mary Fee Mary Fee Labour

To ensure that the mental health strategy, which covers the period from 2017 to 2027, is delivering for people, it would be beneficial to know when each action should be implemented. Why are very few timescales attached to the actions that are set out in the strategy?

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

As Mary Fee rightly said, the strategy covers a 10-year period. Some actions have already been implemented. The Scottish Government certainly has a timeline for each action, which I use to monitor progress on each action closely. I can provide the member with further details on that, if she wishes.