Response 35590500

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MHScot Workplace Wellbeing CIC

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1. Our framework sets out 8 priorities for a new Mental Health Strategy that we think will transform mental health in Scotland over 10 years. Are these the most important priorities?

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If no, what priorities do you think will deliver this transformation?
Yes, however a stronger importance on reducing stigma would be helpful. Without reducing stigma we risk failing all people who never step forward for help, especially at the early intervention and prevention stage. Also a focus on the reduction of prescribed medication would also tie into early intervention and prevention and also positively impacting the budget around medication prescriptions.

2. The table in Annex A sets out a number of early actions that we think will support improvements for mental health.

Are there any other actions that you think we need to take to improve mental health in Scotland?
“our priorities for transforming mental health in Scotland” Transformation takes real courage and the ability to take risks around trying something new, innovative. Sadly the focus on the strategy seems to be yet again on Primary Care, NHS and key larger organisations. Improvement in mental health and wellbeing requires a bottom up approach, not top down and must be done co-productively, ensuring a bottom up approach, this feels like more of the same old same old at a time when Adult Health and Social Care Integration is calling for a complete new way of working with all Agencies and Communities involved at all stages. This is not coming through strongly in this document. The focus on the NHS and Primary Care to deliver these improvements are coming at a time when the overly stretched NHS face even more challenges through cuts to budgets and staffing levels. Surely we must take this opportunity to spread the responsibility to all parts of communities to ensure the mental health and wellbeing of all stakeholders within communities. Mental Health should be everyone’s business. A bit like Child Protection and GIRFEC – surely the focus should be around highlighting that everyone can contribute positively to someone’s mental health? Could there be an initiative like GIRFEC set up around mental health? GIRFES (Getting It Right For Every Sufferer) and let’s not forget that those supporting people with Mental Health Conditions also suffer. Primary Care is mentioned continuously throughout the document as the ones providing the 'Results' and yet we know the budget for mental health spend within the NHS is so small. Results will be achieved through working in partnership with all other Agencies both Statutory and Voluntary, and said results must be attributed to all. Also in terms of early intervention and prevention, surely there is far more that can be done within communities and workplaces before a person needs to approach Primary Care? Indeed, many people approach services via the third sector, community groups; and/or self-help, support from friends and family. We must all work collaboratively with the public, private and third sector organisations to meet demand and ensure that we provide innovative, creative, collaborative, and effective services that deliver quality results. The Life Stages section of the Framework is good however, we feel that there should also be a Working Well Section. At a time of significant reductions in government expenditure, many mental health services are unable to continue to provide people and communities with the services and support they need. Furthermore the strain on companies and employers to reduce costs but increase productivity, will also be aggravating mental distress in the workforce, generating a demand on services within communities which are reducing. Mental health issues at work are estimated to cost Scottish employers over £2 billion per year. That is a massive £970 per employee! The total social and economic cost to Scotland is a whopping £10.7 billion a year. Furthermore “A profile of deaths by suicide in Scotland 2009-2014” , report from the Scottish Suicide Information Database (ScotSID) published August 2016 states Of the 4,464 cases, 3,965 (89%) were of working age (16-64 years), and employment status was known in 3,962 cases (Table 4). Just under one-third (29%) of the cohort comprised people who were unemployed, unable to work due to a long-term condition, or of independent means and a small number were students (3%). The remaining 71% were in employment at the time of their death. “Having a supportive environment and general awareness of possible effects of work-related stress and mental health problems is essential in prevention and intervention efforts” (Schott, 1999; Tennant, 2001; Iacovides et al, 2003) Surely these statistics and overwhelming research justify investigating how to work together with employers to focus on early intervention and prevention within workplaces. This strategy could also help reduce stigma and would also have positive consequences further than the organisation worked for. We must find creative ways of working which impact on real outcomes.

3. The table in Annex A sets out some of the results we expect to see.

What do you want mental health services in Scotland to look like in 10 years' time?
A realistic and honest budget for mental health is required, therefore we would hope that the spend has vastly increased, and isn't tokenism, short-term and a tick box exercise. More holistic non medical approaches are offered wherever possible and appropriate. Whole community approach to programmes and projects offering a variety of services and methods of support including alternative therapies.