Quality standards for adult secondary mental health services

Closed 17 Mar 2023

Opened 14 Dec 2022

Feedback updated 2 Oct 2023

We asked

What is good and what could we improve about the draft standards for adult secondary mental health services?

You said

You agreed with most of the standards but wanted the language to be clearer and the standards to apply more widely than just adult services.

We did

We have worked to make the language easier to understand and have expanded the scope of the standards so that they are now Core Mental Health Standards.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


We want to hear your views on the draft quality standards for adult secondary mental health services. We have asked a series of questions, and your answers to these will help us write the final standards and develop how we measure if these standards are being met.

Read the consultation paper 

Read the easy read consultation paper

What are adult secondary mental health services? 

  • Secondary mental health care services are usually services which need a referral from your GP or another healthcare service.

  • Secondary mental health services are usually made up of community mental health teams (CMHTs) and adult in-patient mental health wards.

  • Secondary care services may be delivered in the community or in hospital by a team of mental health professionals who have the skills and training to meet people's needs. Examples of these include, Psychiatrists, Mental Health Nurses, Psychologists, other Allied Health Professions as well as Social Workers and Mental Health Officers.

Currently, there are no national standards for adult secondary mental health services in Scotland. Both people with lived experience and people who work and volunteer in services have identified this as a barrier in the delivery provision of quality care and support.

The aims of the standards for adult secondary services are:

  • To let individuals, their families and carers know what they can expect from a secondary mental health service.
  • To improve experiences and outcomes for people who use adult mental health secondary services.


Throughout the development of the standards, we engaged extensively with people who use mental health services, the mental health workforce and organisations who deliver mental health services.

We want to hear about people’s experiences of mental health and wellbeing, and any support they have received. However, we know that sometimes it can be difficult to talk or write about these experiences, whether they are your own or other people’s.

You can respond to any questions in the consultation that you want to. There is no need to respond to them all.

If you are affected by any of the issues covered in this document and need support, help is available.

We have included links to some of those sources of support below.



  • Health and Social Care
  • Main hub