Responding to the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy

Includem has signed a joint statement alongside Aberlour, Action for Children, Barnardo’s, Children 1st and NSPCC Scotland in response to the Scottish Government’s publication of the 10 Year Mental Health Strategy:

Whilst there is more of a focus on the role of schools and early intervention there is a distinct lack of detail in the document about what actions will take place to tackle the growing problem of poor mental health in our children and young people. We are concerned that there is a lack of clear timescales for change and no detail on who is accountable should there be no progress on improving the mental health of children and young people.

We need to see national leadership now, to ensure policy commitments are matched by adequate and sophisticated public investment, in people, resources and relationships, to support the delivery of preventative services and to promote positive emotional wellbeing and resilience.

There is now overwhelming evidence for this approach. The case has been made, now is the time for action.

Angela Morgan, Includem’s Chief Executive added:

Our support for young people and their families is focussed on prevention and increasingly that is to alleviate the underlying causes of mental health.

 We welcome the recognition in the strategy that the causes of poor mental health are complex and related to poverty and deprivation, alcohol and drug misuse, homelessness, unemployment, loss, abuse and past trauma.

 However to resolve these challenges we need a much greater focus on supporting families as a whole to prevent the breakdown in relationships which is so often the driver for mental health problems.

From our experience working with looked after children and young people we would call on the Scottish Government to consider a much more ambitious set of actions around mental and emotional health and wellbeing not just focused on the narrow group of those on the edge of secure care as set out in the strategy but for all those involved in the care system.

Recent studies show that 45% of looked after young people have a diagnosable mental disorder and over a fifth had tried to hurt, harm or kill themselves. This demonstrates a clear need for more focus on this population generally.

We hope the Scottish Government will take on board the experience of those organisations working directly with young people with mental health problems on a day to day basis and review this strategy to ensure its ambitious vision is matched by actions.”

Case Study: Claire’s Story

Claire is 17. She has experienced poor mental health since a young age.
She struggled with the transition to adult mental health services, which
impacted on her ability to engage with further education. Includem worked
with Claire to provide support to engage with relevant services and
assisted her to access college.

Click here to read Claire’s story in full.

For more information please contact Michael Shanks, Policy and Communications Manager on 0141 427 0523 or email michael.shanks@includem.co.uk.

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