Mental Health


Why it’s important?

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. Visit the Scottish Government Mental Health web pages.


Evidence and evaluation

Mental Health GP Clusters briefing paper (SSPC, 2016) (PDF)

This paper is the ninth in a series that relates to areas of quality and safety on which general practice clusters could usefully focus improvement activity. It summarises research, guidelines and other evidence about areas of care which can be improved, and improvement methods and interventions.

Inequalities in Mental Health (Health Scotland, 2017) (PDF)

Short evidence review of relationship between mental health and inequalities.


Toolkits guidance or resources

Quality improvement guides (MHAIST, 2017)

These guides relate to increasing access for Mental Health services in primary care and community care.

Information for patients

NHS Inform includes overview of mental health disorders and self-help guides which staff can use to encourage conversations with patients around health literacy and self-management.



Child and Adolescent Mental Health Access Target

Access the latest publication of the Child and Mental Health Services Waiting Times in Scotland report.

Psychological Therapies Mental Health Access Target

Access the latest publication of the Psychological Therapies Waiting Times in Scotland report.

Dementia Post-diagnostic Support

A revised dataset, definitions and guidance document was issued in November 2018 to be effective from 1 April 2019, to improve the consistency of post-diagnosis support information.

Visit ISD Scotland Dementia Post-Diagnosis Support webpages for definitions and recording guidance. For information on the Dementia Benchmarking toolkit see the Quality Indicators web pages.

Mental Health Benchmarking Project

This can help to facilitate improvement of the Mental Health services in Scotland by comparing key aspects of performance, identify gaps, identify opportunities for improvement and monitor progress.

Psychology Workforce Planning Project and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Workforce Project

National workforce statistics relating to NHS Scotland Psychology and CAMHS workforce are published quarterly and can be viewed on the webpage above.

Scottish Suicuide Information Database (ScotSID)

This can help identify factors which may increase or decrease the likelihood of suicide, and assist in suicide prevention.

Find more mental health data publications or email the ISD Mental Health data team:


Learning from others - practice level

The Scottish Deep End Project (Mental Health) 

Summary, with links to related resources, of Deep End learning related to mental health in areas of deprivation.

Case Studies from East Lothian Foundation Trust (PDF)

Quality improvement projects focussing on increasing access to psychological therapies and children and adolescent mental health services.

Community Compass Case Study, (Edinburgh) (PDF)

An example of social prescribing. It describes local models of social support for mental health. 

Forensic Employability Pathway (PDF)

Describes employability pathway for those with severe mental health problems.

Community Health Connections, (Fife) (PDF)

Describes role of a 'health coach' for patients with mental health problems.

Use as an example of social prescribing that may help to inform service development ideas or decisions.

Dundee Healthy Living Initiative (PDF)

Describes the introduction of ‘Mind Yer Heid’ training focused on addressing factors affecting mental health and wellbeing.  

Falkirk District Association for Mental Health (PDF)

Describes the local social prescribing service for patients with mental health conditions.

Well Connected At Levengrove (Horticulture Service) Work Connect (PDF)

Describes structured employability interventions for groups of people with mental health problems.

Well Connected (PDF)

Describes Lanarkshire’s social prescribing programme for mental health and wellbeing.

Pillar Kincardine Women’s Group (Stonehaven) (PDF)

Describes how this women’s group supports women suffering from mental ill health.


Learning from others - strategic level

Social prescribing review for mental health (Health Scotland, 2015 (PDF)

Self-management is an important approach to improving mental health. Social prescribing is one means of supporting self-management.

This briefing paper suggests that some models of social prescribing may be effective in supporting people with mental health problems to access non-medical sources of support and could have a positive impact on psychological and social outcomes.


National programmes

The ihub’s Mental Health Portfolio brings together two programmes of work, Scottish Patient Safety Programme Mental Health and the Mental Health Access Improvement Support Programme.

Their work includes the early intervention in psychosis workstream.



NHS Research Mental health Network provides support to improve the quality and quantity of research and promote excellence in mental health clinical research in Scotland. 

Find out more or email