The Mental Health Improvement Portfolio led a national Mental Health Access Improvement (MHAIST) collaborative between June 2018 and November 2019.

Sharing learning

The collaborative supported Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Psychological Therapy (PT) teams to respond to increasing demand for their services using a quality improvement (QI) approach.

This toolkit shares the learning from the collaborative and other useful sources such as examples, tools and guidance from CAMHS and PT teams. The toolkit is a useful resource for mental health teams interested in adopting a QI approach to improve services.  

Collaborative overview

The motion graphic below provides more information about the work of the MHAIST collaborative and resulting toolkit. While this learning took place before COVID-19, the same principles can be applied while following current guidelines or using digital methods for communication.

Reflecting on some of the tools, Jean Thompson, a Senior Nurse at NHS Tayside who took part in the MHAIST collaborative, said:

When you start to have these conversations [about QI], it feels like the tasks get bigger until they get smaller and [these tools] helped us really focus down and make a bit of sense… [Otherwise], you could feel very overwhelmed." Jean Thompson

Learn more

If you are interested in improving access to mental health services, our quality improvement toolkit provides a step-by-step approach:

Creating the conditions for improvement
Understanding your system
Developing your team's aim
Developing your change theory
Implementing changes
Spreading changes
Quality improvement during a pandemic

After reading this toolkit, if you are interested to learn more about quality improvement, additional resources are available on the NHS Education for Scotland QI Zone website.

We will continue to update this toolkit as we learn about further good examples of mental health improvement work.  If you would like to share examples with us please get in touch by completing the story capture template form (Word doc) and emailing it as an attachment to