Mental health strategic influencing in Scotland

Adult Unpaid Carer Wellbeing Toolkit 

This toolkit, Caring for You, is for adult carers to use either individually or within group settings through support services. The toolkit offers practical activities and tips to deal with specific emotions which can arise from having a caring role as well as ideas on how to maintain good overall wellbeing.

Read our adult unpaid carer wellbeing toolkit here

Scottish Government Research Advisory Group on Mental Health

The Research Advisory Group on Mental Health work has been pivotal to the pandemic response.  It maintained data to provide Scottish Government with insight into the mental health impact of lockdowns and how restrictions were affecting people.

Moving on from this the data has been used to refresh The Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.  To assist with the consultation on this, a dedicated diverse experiences panel was established with Carers Trust Scotland as partners.

Diverse Experiences Advisory Panel 

Carers Trust Scotland are a recognised partner in the setting up of Diverse Experiences Advisory Panel with Mental Health Foundation, Voices of Lived Experience and Health and Social Care Alliance.  The panel consists of unpaid carers from diverse communities and areas of Scotland, as well as those with direct lived experience of mental health issues.

The panel focuses on informing and advising the Scottish Government on the following areas:

  • Delivery of Scotland’s Mental Health Transition and Recovery Plan.
  • Review and refresh of Scotland’s Mental Health Strategy: 2017-2027.
  • How the Scottish Government should engage people with lived experience to advise, inform and shape mental health policy.

Over time, the panel may be asked to or may choose to engage with wider policy issues and areas that related to mental health.

Scottish Government Mental Health Quality and Safety Advisory Board

The purpose of the Mental Health Quality and Safety Board is to provide advice on the development and implementation of policy in relation to safe, effective and quality mental health services in Scotland. Importantly, the voices and experiences of those with lived experience including unpaid carers, and a rights’ based approach, as enshrined in mental health legislation, will be at the centre.

The Board has an advisory function in relation to the following issues:

  • Patient Safety and Care.
  • Quality Standards.
  • Scrutiny and Assurance.

 Mental Health Estates Short Life Working Group

The purpose of the Mental Health Estates Short Life Working Group is to provide clinical expertise and governance to ensure the high quality and timely development of a tool to assess the quality and safety of mental health estates in Scotland. This work is led by NHS Assure and Carers Trust is an active member.

This group is accountable to Scottish Government Mental Health Quality and Safety Advisory Board.

Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland Unpaid Carers Advisory Board

Established by Executive of Mental Welfare Commission this advisory group comprises of unpaid carers and carer organisations.  It provides feedback to Commission on issues concerning unpaid carers, as well as feedback about the work of Commission and its strategies going forward each year.

Find out more about the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland Carers Advisory Board

Scottish Mental Health Law Review

This was a review of the Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 and Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007. The Review published its recommendations in 2022 and Carers Trust Scotland represented the interests of National Carer Organisations and unpaid carers over the course of the Review 

Unpaid carers have played an integral part of the advisory groups to the Executive and have been supported in this by ourselves.

Find out more about the Scottish Mental Health Law Review

Forensic Network

This is a national network across all forensic mental health estates in Scotland, from high secure to Intensive Psychiatric Care Units. Part of the Forensic Network is the Carer Coordinator’s Network. This group oversees the implementation of Triangle of Care and unpaid carer engagement strategies across forensic services, in partnership with Carers Trust Scotland, to influence the delivery of services and raise the voice of unpaid forensic carers.

Personality Disorder Improvement Programme Expert Reference Group 

The Personality Disorder Improvement Programme (PDIP) Expert Reference Group supports and provided advice on the first phase of the Personality Disorder Improvement Programme, as outlined in the commission from Scottish Government. This group provides an advisory and consultative support.

The expert reference group provides advice based on their knowledge and experience in relation to all aspects of a diagnosis of a personality disorder. This extends to the following areas of work:

  • Understanding of the local personality disorder services.
  • Evidence of best practice for development of personality disorder services.
  • Supporting the development of an effective learning system for personality disorder.
  • Ensuring that people with lived experience, including unpaid carers are central to this work including areas highlighted above.

Early Intervention in Psychosis Lived Experience Reference Group

This is a national group of people with lived experience of psychosis, their unpaid carers and organisations who represent people with lived experience of psychosis. It was set up following the announcement by Scottish Government in 2018 that “people presenting for the first time with psychosis anywhere in Scotland will have timely access to effective care and treatment, with early intervention and a focus on recovery.”

The Lived Experience Reference Group is part of the National Early Intervention in Psychosis Improvement Network and is co-chaired between Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Change Mental Health. Carers Trust Scotland represents the National Carer Organisations and gathers experiences of unpaid carers of people with psychosis who may not want to sit on this group but who do want to contribute to the further development of early intervention services. 

Find out more about the Early Intervention in Psychosis Lived Experience Reference Group

NHS Dumfries and Galloway and NHS Tayside Early Intervention in Psychosis Lived Experience Reference Groups

The Scottish Government, in 2021, set up two pilot pathfinder sites to trial early intervention in psychosis, one in a rural setting and one in a mixture of rural and urban. Carers Trust Scotland supports the development of Lived Experience Reference Group for each pilot area ensuring people with lived experience, including unpaid carers, are at the heart of designing and developing services.

Scottish Mental Health Advisory Group

Set up by NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland with the following remit:

  • To provide Healthcare Improvement Scotland with strategic advice on the focus, design and delivery of its work to enable better quality mental health service.
  • To represent and communicate the views of key stakeholders and ensure these are considered throughout the design and delivery of programmes, thereby enabling Healthcare Improvement Scotland to maximise the impact of its work in mental health.
  • To provide subject matter expertise and advice to HIS mental health work programmes.

Carers Trust represents National Carer Organisations and unpaid carers on this group.

National Rural Mental Health Forum

Set up as a collaborative of all agencies and bodies working in remote and rural parts of Scotland.  Carers Trust became a member in 2018 to provide the voice of remote and rural unpaid carers of all ages and local carer organisations. Our role involves attending forum meetings and disseminating relevant information; hosting learning exchanges with Forum members; participating in key policy discussions and consultations which are likely to impact the lives of unpaid carers.

Find out more about the National Mental Health  Forum.

Triangle of Care

This is an alliance between service user, mental health staff and unpaid carers in an attempt to ensure clear and consistent communication and information is provided across all mental health services. The resource is based on six self-assessments for services to complete and produce action plans against.  This ensures that:

  1. unpaid carers (of all ages) are identified and supported;
  2. staff are ‘unpaid carer aware’ in engaging and working with unpaid carers in partnership;
  3. protocols for sharing information and dealing with confidentiality are in place;
  4. a staff lead is responsible for ensuring unpaid carers are communicated with;
  5. unpaid carers receive information at relevant points in a patient’s journey towards recovery; and that
  6. mental health staff are aware of local carer organisations within the community and online so they can signpost and/or refer an unpaid carer to an appropriate place of help/advice/support.

Find out more about Triangle of Care: supporting unpaid carers of people experiencing mental health problems in Scotland.