Mental health a top priority in the Programme for Government 2018-19


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Programme for Government 2018-19 was published on the 4th of September setting out the Government’s priorities for over the coming year. We welcome that it pays more attention to mental health than any Scottish Government programme has done before; committing to investing £250m to transform the way mental ill-health is responded to and treated.

Our Going to Be campaign called for counselling to be introduced in all secondary schools and for mental health training for school staff. The Programme for Government commits to ensuring that all of Scotland’s secondary schools have access to counselling services with 350 new school-based counsellors. £60m has been pledged by the Scottish Government to fund the rollout of school-based counselling. As well as funding an additional 250 school nurses who will be able to provide an immediate response to mild and moderate emotional and mental health difficulties. The Programme also commits to offering mental health training for teachers to all local authorities.

During the first half of the year SAMH worked on an audit of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, uncovering evidence of a gap in services for children and young people who did not meet the criteria for the most specialist help. The Programme for Government commits to a new community mental wellbeing service for 5-24 year olds that we look forward to hearing more detail on.

We were also pleased to see the programme commit to making mental health and suicide prevention training mandatory for all NHS staff who receive mandatory physical health training, including pharmacists, something that SAMH has previously called for.

Momentum is behind improving mental health care and treatment more than it ever has been. Securing improvements to mental health support and treatment is only possible thanks to the support SAMH receives from our campaigners and our supporters. Whilst we await more detail on the commitments made we continue our work to improve Scotland’s mental health. 

You can read the full Programme for Government online

For information on SAMH and mental health visit

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