Includem welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to addressing the issue of mental health and in particular we welcome the appointment of a dedicated Minister for Mental Health. We welcome the publication of a ’10 Year Vision for Mental Health’.
Our experience is in supporting young people with the most complex and entrenched challenges. We help them build capacity and self-esteem so they can live fulfilling lives. We recognise that many of the underlying causes of poor mental health are related to wider difficulties – poverty and deprivation, drug and alcohol misuse, homelessness, unemployment, violence or past trauma, loss, abuse or bereavement.
With regard to child and adolescent mental health, we know the importance of understanding and supporting the needs of the whole family. Addressing issues of chaotic lifestyles within families and rebuilding relationships is key to preventing mental health problems at an early stage and build resilience for later years.
It is with that background in mind that we are disappointed by the lack of vision in the current 10 Year Vision document. It is not clear what the answer to the overarching question is – “what will mental health in Scotland be like in 2026”?
While there are clearly important priorities and actions identified by the strategy – particularly around prevention and early intervention – there are a range of other necessary actions missing. We would stress the importance of recognising the opportunity of early intervention at all stages in young people’s development – as crucial in the teenage years as in the early years.