Mental Health Improvement Portfolio
Delivering person-centred, safe and effective, mental health care
One in four people will experience mental health problems at some stage in their lives. The Scottish Government has made a commitment to ensure that good quality mental health services are available for everyone that needs them, at all levels of need.
We work with mental health service providers, people who use services, and leadership teams to share learning and deliver improvements to mental health care services.
Download the summary of our mental health work in 2019 -2020.
The ihub’s Mental Health Improvement Portfolio brings together three programmes of work, SPSP Mental Health, the Mental Health Access Improvement Support Programme and the Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) Programme. The portfolio is also expanding its offering into a range of new mental health work streams.
Read more about the programmes
- Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP)
Psychosis is a medical term which can refer to a single episode or the start of ongoing serious mental health issues.
If undiagnosed, untreated or poorly treated, psychosis can become a long-term condition. A long duration of untreated psychosis is associated with high rates of suicide, more compulsory care, reduced social functioning, greater relapse, high levels of comorbidity, and greater stress on families.
Psychosis in early adulthood has the potential to derail social, vocational, and psychological development. Traditionally psychosis was viewed as an inevitably deteriorating condition, but we now know that, with the right support, people can recover and go on to live healthy, productive lives.
Our needs assessment highlighted that most services are not consistently delivering all of the core, evidence-based components of EIP. Read more in our report, published in March 2021.
- Mental Health Access Improvement Support
Mental Health Access Improvement Support
Access to mental health treatment services in Scotland should be available to those that need it within 18 weeks.
The Mental Health Access Improvement Support Team (MHAIST) has been established to support improved access to both Psychological Therapy Interventions (PTI) and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). This programme supports NHS Boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships who are struggling to meet the 18 week standard to understand the key factors impacting access and then use this knowledge to develop and implement plans to address them.
Commissioned by the Scottish Government to work with services across Scotland to improve access to CAMHS and PTi Access, the Mental Health Access Improvement Support Team (MHAIST) was established in 2016.
The aim of this work stream is to improve access to CAMHS and Psychological Therapies services in Scotland to deliver better experiences for people who require this support. The work supports services to achieve the target of 90% of people requiring CAMHS and PT services receiving treatment within 18 weeks of referral to the service.
- Teams understand issues and opportunities in existing pathways and processes.
- Teams understand the experience of colleagues and people who use the service and have used this to identify improvements.
- Teams develop QI capacity and capability to achieve measurable, sustained improvement.
- Teams share knowledge and learning, and embed new approaches into daily practice.
Find out more about the work of the programme.
Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Access
CAMHS is used as a term for all services that work with children and young people who have difficulties with their emotional or behavioural wellbeing.
Children and young people may need help with a wide range of issues at different points in their lives. Parents and carers may also need help and advice to deal with behavioural or other problems their child is experiencing. Parents, carers and young people can receive direct support through CAMHS.
Specialist CAMHS are NHS mental health services that focus on the needs of children and young people. They are multidisciplinary teams that often consist of:
- social workers
- support workers
- occupational therapists
- psychological therapists – this may include child psychotherapists, family psychotherapists, play therapists and creative art therapists
- primary mental health link workers
- specialist substance misuse workers
Getting help from a specialist CAMHS service is different depending on where you live. Waiting times can vary, too. The ihub is working with NHS boards, health and social care partnerships and multidisciplinary teams to improve service delivery.
To find out more about the work of the programme, visit:
Find out more about the work of the programme.
Mental Health and Psychological Therapies Access
The Scottish Government is committed to increasing the availability of evidence-based psychological interventions, and the Local Delivery Plan Guidance for 2011-12 introduces for the first time a new maximum waiting times access target for Psychological Therapies.
Targets for Psychological Therapies, CAMHS and Alcohol Misuse will help tackle some of Scotland’s biggest economic and social problems.
The Reshaping Care and Mental Health Division is also committed to supporting NHS Boards to meet HEAT targets in a way which best fits with local services and circumstances and will be sustainable in the long term.
What are these targets?
Targets are set out by NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government's Health Directorates, to ensure our services are constantly monitored and improved. There are four groups of targets, collectively known as HEAT targets; these are: H - Health Improvement; E - Efficiency; A - Access to treatment; T – Treatment
The ihub’s mental health work stream is working with partners across health and social care to develop tools, techniques and process that contribute to meeting these targets.
- Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP) Mental Health
The aim of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme for Mental Health is People are and feel safe.
SPSP Mental Health is working the Scottish Government and partners to deliver the "Mental Health Strategy: 2017 - 2027"
Cultivating learning among those delivering and in receipt of care, and using that knowledge to improve safety are core values of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme for Mental Health (SPSP-MH). Through collaboration and innovation from staff, service users and carers and the use of quality improvement and improvement science over the last 6 years, we are now starting to see significant reductions in self-harm, seclusion, violence and aggression, and restraint across a number of areas in Scotland.
The Scottish Patient Safety Programme–Improving Observation Practice (SPSP IOP) aims to extend and build on existing good practice in mental health services to provide an improved model of person-centred care that can be applied in any healthcare setting.
Aims of SPSP-Improving Observation Practice
- To produce a refreshed national observation practice guidance centred on human rights principles and recovery focussed practice.
- To ensure safe and reliable observation practice that values prevention, early recognition and response, in order to improve patient and family experience and reduce harm.