Scotland Policy Conferences

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Next steps for mental health services in Scotland

Morning, Tuesday, 14th May 2024

This conference will discuss priorities for mental health provision in Scotland.

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It will be an opportunity to discuss next steps for service provision and delivering on ambitions to prevent, promote and provide, as outlined in The Scottish Government’s Mental health and wellbeing strategy published in June 2023 and the subsequent Delivery Plan 2023-2025.

Delegates will examine priorities for service recovery in the wake of COVID, with a focus on transparency of funding, and next steps for financing and resourcing challenges in light of The Scottish Government’s target to spend 10% of the total NHS budget on mental health services.

Taking place following Audit Scotland’s Adult mental health report published in September 2023, discussion will consider the concerns raised, including the need for higher quality financial, operational and workforce data, a lack of government oversight on most adult mental health centres, and next steps for developing ease of access and timeliness of services.

Delegates will explore options for embedding human rights into service provision, with discussion on fostering trauma-informed and person-centred practices in the workplace, including priorities for workforce upskilling, recruitment and retention. There will also be a focus on investment and service development for those in crisis, looking at building on progress made in inpatient care.

Further sessions will discuss the role the third sector and local authorities can play in providing easier and more equitable access to services, as well as priorities for addressing alcohol and substance misuse, reducing mental health stigma, and developing models for prevention and early intervention.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Mark MacPherson, Audit Director, Audit Scotland; and Wendy Halliday, Director, See Me.

Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • policy priorities: delivering on the strategy’s aims - priorities for short-term ambitions within the delivery plan - Audit Scotland’s report on Adult mental health - improving access to services - tackling backlogs
  • financing: next steps in implementing the new funding model - assessing where funding could be best utilised - the role of health boards and local partners - investment priorities for mental health treatments
  • stigma: priorities for an anti-stigma collective - learning from previously successful programmes - raising awareness of available resources through education and advocacy
  • workforce development:
    • increasing recruitment of trained clinicians - supporting insufficiently-resourced teams within specialist PMH services - working with UK partners to support skills training
    • improving training for enhanced psychological wellbeing practitioners - engaging with DBI staff from the third sector - the role of community link workers
  • early intervention: assessing the landscape of preventative provision - public health priorities for improving mental health - reducing the incidence of symptom presentation in emergency departments
  • inpatient care: assessing the current state of acute care and recommendations for improvement - addressing bed shortages on psychiatric wards - focusing on the work of community mental health teams
  • crisis services: exploring the resourcing of local crisis specialists - expanding the strategy beyond the health response - enabling the inclusion of Health and Social Care Partnerships
  • substance misuse: examining the strategy’s recommendations for alcohol and drug abuse cases - comorbidity and the relationship between alcohol and self-harm
  • equalities and human rights: embedding anti-discriminatory culture within information services, care and treatment - engaging with third sector and local partners to maintain a person-centred approach
  • neurodivergence: priorities for engaging with historical waiting lists - tackling gaps in service provision

Keynote Speakers

Mark MacPherson

Audit Director, Audit Scotland

Wendy Halliday

Director, See Me

Keynote Speakers

Mark MacPherson

Audit Director, Audit Scotland

Wendy Halliday

Director, See Me


Alex Cumming

Executive Director of Operations, Scottish Association for Mental Health

Lee Knifton

Director, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Mental Health Foundation

Chris Wright

National Advisor, Digital Mental Health, The Scottish Government

Colin Davidson

Councillor, Fife Council

Donald MacIntyre

Consultant General Adult Psychiatrist, Royal Edinburgh Hospital

Professor Jill Stavert

Professor of Mental Health and Capacity Law, Centre for Mental Health Practice Policy and Law Research Lead, Edinburgh Napier University