Response 42911969

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About You

1. What is your name?

Patricia Watts

3. Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

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Ticked Organisation

4. What is your organisation?

The British Association of Art Therapists

5. The Scottish Government would like your permission to publish your consultation response. Please indicate your publishing preference:

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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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Ticked Yes
Don't know
If no, what priorities do you think will deliver this transformation?
Whilst this is a comprehensive and relevant list of priorities transforming mental health in Scotland, this would be strengthened by also making a commitment to work alongside people with a lived experience of mental health problems to co- design services and be part of governance and commissioning groups to ensure that services best meet the needs of people experiencing mental health problems. Also there is scope for people with a lived experience of mental health problems to have a role in working alongside professionals to help the understand the difficulties that people face in accessing mental health services, for example having no money to access transport, having no childcare or having meetings in unfamiliar settings could result in a person being unable to attend an appointment but to the professional offering the appointment, this could be viewed as non-compliance.

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?
Prevention, early intervention and early years approaches. The focus on raising attainment is an important objective as education can improve life chances for children and young people to achieve positive destinations beyond school. However, in order to raise attainment levels there also needs to be a focus on supporting attachment in the early years and supporting children and young people who have experienced trauma, as poor attachment and experiencing trauma can affect a child’s attainment. To strengthen this area, children’s services that focus on attainment should have an understanding of the impact of poor attachment and the impact of trauma on a child’s emotional, social and cognitive development. More could be done to support professionals to have attachment and trauma sensitive practice towards children. i.e. in a school setting rather than taking a punitive view on late coming, acknowledge the barriers and difficulties a child may have overcome to attend school that day. ‘Prevention, early intervention and early years’ - Improvements in partnership working between specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and children’s services so children, young people and families get the help they need quickly’ Whilst it is important to provide services for children and young people experiencing mental health problems, there needs to be a greater emphasis on community based family support as well as dyadic parent and child work when working with children who have mental health problems. The use of community resources as well as working alongside parents raises capacity of families so they are better able to identify sustainable solutions before problems escalate. It would also be helpful to recognise the work that is being done in the voluntary sector to focus on early intervention, there could be more partnership working between CAMHS and the voluntary sector to avoid duplication and ensure that support is timeous and services are accessible for children, young people and families. Live well and age well - The needs of people with mental health issues are identified more quickly and supported in a variety of settings. This area could be strengthened by acknowledging the impact that poverty has on people’s mental health, particularly in the current economic climate and the ongoing changes to the welfare system. There is a need for mental health services to better understand the impact of welfare reform and to link up with other agencies that address financial hardship and have more opportunities to work in partnership with them. For example, for a practitioner to know when someone has had their benefits sanctioned or is facing eviction would be able to take a more preventative approach by linking in with housing services, food banks, citizens advice and the DWP and intervene before financial hardship reaches a crisis point. Improving access to mental health services could be achieved by supporting people to access their own services, e.g art therapy through personalisation giving people more choice about what services they are able to access.

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?
It would be helpful to see access to mental health services greatly improved with fewer waiting lists as well as a range of accessible therapeutic interventions available both in adult and children’s services so there is more choice for users of mental health services. Interventions such as art therapy are able to support the objectives of prevention and early intervention as well the objectives set out in the live well age well sections of the strategy. For example, in Scotland the art therapy workforce supports children and young people in CAMHS, education and early years settings. And, within adult services art therapy is offered in forensic settings, crisis trauma services and dementia services. However, access to art therapy is not consistently available in mental health services and in the past 5 years there has been a significant reduction in art therapy services in the NHS in Scotland. The most meaningful way to shape the landscape for mental health services is to collaborate with people who use mental health services and their carers.