In the Mind: Key facts about mental health in Scotland

From the BBC Original HERE

Mental Health written in sandImage copyrightNEWSCAST

Mental illness is one of the major health challenges in Scotland.

It is estimated that more than one in three people are affected by a mental health problem each year. The most common illnesses are depression and anxiety.

Only about 1-2% of the population have psychotic disorders. 1 in 3 GP appointments relates to a mental health problem.

Poverty a factor

The more deprived the area, the higher its rate of mental illness.

People living in the most deprived areas are more than three times as likely to spend time in hospital as a result of mental illness compared to people living in the least deprived areas.

The suicide rate is more than three times higher in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas.

Employment is good for mental health. Although most people with mental health problems are employed, generally people have better mental health when in employment than when jobless.

Men and women different

Twice as many women as men went to their GP because of depression or anxiety in 2010/11, but the suicide rate is three times higher for men than women.

Woman and man at medical appointmentImage copyrightNEWSCAST

Although equal numbers of men and women are hospitalised due to mental illness, men are more likely to be admitted with schizophrenia and conditions related to substance abuse.

Women are more likely to have mood disorders or a personality disorder.

Antidepressant use

About 1 in 8 of Scots (12%) take use an antidepressant every day.

The other main drugs for mental health are used by only 1-3% of the population.

Defined daily doses of drugs - graph from Scottish Parliament briefings - Research and Fact SheetsImage copyrightSPICE

Stigma decreasing

In 2009, 58% of people who had suffered a mental health problem had experienced stigma or discrimination at some point in the previous five years.

In 2007, it was 82%.

Scots happiest

People living in Scotland are happier than other parts of the UK.

According to the Office for National Statistics, people living in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the most “satisfied”.

The local authority where the people gave the highest average score was Eilean Siar.

On average, the people in the Western Isles gave their life satisfaction a score of 8.41 out of 10.

Successive Scottish governments claimed mental health a top priority – but what is situation?

How much is spent?

This is hard to calculate because it is up to Scotland’s health boards and councils to decide how much they spend, and it can be difficult to define.

However, some spending trends can be calculated:

  • Spending on community psychiatric care increased by 34% (taking account of inflation) between 2006/7 and 2012/13
  • Spending on clinical psychologists increased by 13% (taking account of inflation) between 2006/7 and 2012/13
  • Local authority spending fluctuated, then steadily increased, and has now plateaued.
Local Authority spending on Mental Health Services - graph from Scottish Parliament briefings - Research and Fact SheetsImage copyrightSPICE

Numbers rising

The number of people being treated for mental health issues is rising.

This does not appear to be because more people have mental illness, but because more people are accessing treatment as understanding grows and the stigma of mental illness reduces.

However, the ageing population has led to an increase in the number of people with dementia.

Older man sitting on ownImage copyrightNEWSCAST

A new strategy for mental health is overdue. The last one ran out at the end of 2015.

More people are being treated at home. Since 1998 the number of people in psychiatric hospital has fallen by at least a third. This reflects the shift towards various forms of care in the community.

Long waits

Some people wait a long time for specialist care.

Last year, new targets came into force to reduce long waits to see a specialist, however the NHS has not been able to meet them.

81% of people saw a psychologist within 18 weeks, against a target of 90%. This figure has not changed much since recording began.

73% of children saw a specialist within 18 weeks, against a target of 90%. Children are waiting slightly longer than they did in 2014 and 2015.

However, the NHS only began recording information about mental health waiting times in 2012. Before then we don’t know how long people were waiting.

Working in mental health

The number of professionals has risen slightly, but not in all areas.

Psychiatric staff by speciality - graph from Scottish Parliament briefings - Research and Fact SheetsImage copyrightSPICE

The total number of staff working in psychiatry rose by 8% between 2002 and 2013.

There were increases in staff in general psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, old age psychiatry and learning disabilities.

The number of staff working in child and adolescent psychiatry, and psychotherapy have fallen.

Falling suicide rate

The number of suicides peaked between 1992 and 2002 but have been falling since then.

The most recent comparable figures for 2014 suggest the lowest number of suicides since 1977. However, in 2010, the Scottish suicide rate was much higher than in England and Wales.

For men it was 73% higher while for women it was almost double. Some of this difference may be due to the way statistics are gathered.


Scottish Parliament SPICe briefing; ISD Scotland; Choose Life; Scottish Association for Mental Health.


Fall in young mental health patients on adult wards

From the BBC – Original HERE

Hospital wardImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionSome youngsters with a mental illness still end up on adult wards

The number of young people with a mental illness being treated in non-specialist wards has seen a “significant drop”, a report has found.

The Mental Welfare Commission said there were 207 admissions to non-specialist wards in 2014-5, dropping to 71 in the last year.

Most of those 71 admissions – involving 66 young people – were to adult wards.

The Scottish government welcomed the report but said it recognised there was still work to be done.

Every health board in Scotland reported a fall in treatment on non-specialist wards, but the commission said there were “marked” reductions in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Tayside, Ayrshire and Arran, and Grampian.

Dr Gary Morrison, executive director at the Mental Welfare Commission, said: “Children and young people under the age of 18 who need hospital treatment for mental illness should, wherever possible, be treated in a specialist unit, designed to care for their age group.

“We have raised concerns in the past when we saw the numbers going to non-specialist, usually adult wards, rising, and last year we were glad to see a reversal of that trend.”

He added: “We know that services have been working hard across the country to achieve this change, and we welcome it.”

Sectioned at 13

Image captionRian was first sectioned at the age of 13 and spent 11 months in a unit

Three years ago, Rian, who is autistic and has learning difficulties, was sectioned and admitted to hospital in Edinburgh.

For him it meant spending months on his own with only the medical staff for company.

For his family, it was a heart wrenching 11-month separation.

His grandmother says he should have been able to spend time with other youngsters during that time and that her family just want the best for him.

Marilyn Beagley, who lives in the capital, says her grandson keeps in regular contact with her, despite him now living at a residential school in Glasgow.

However, as of 7 November, his place at the school will be terminated and the challenge of finding a new place for him will begin again.

Read more about Rian’ case.

The commission believes that the reductions have been achieved by staffing “stability” in Scotland’s three specialist inpatient units.

There have also been improvements to admission and discharge procedures in these units and an expansion of services provided by Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs), the commission said.

The report also made two recommendations:

  • Admissions procedures to the three specialist units should be reviewed to improve out-of-hours referrals
  • Scottish government and health boards should review availability and access to intensive psychiatric care unit beds for young people nationally

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) welcomed the figures, but said there were still too many under-18s with mental illnesses being treated in the wrong wards.

“We have raised this issue previously with the Scottish government and are glad to see a reversal in this trend and note that services have been working hard across the country to address this,” a spokesman said.

Help written in notebookImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThere are specialist units for children with a mental illness in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow

“It should be noted, however, that there are currently only 48 specialist hospital beds provided by the NHS in Scotland for adolescents with mental health problems, despite increasing demand.”

The specialist units are in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow – but the SCSC said there was no inpatient provision north of Dundee.

Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt said: “As the report confirms, this reduction reflects the Scottish government’s work to invest in and improve specialist child and adolescent mental health services across Scotland.

“That work is especially important as more young people are coming forward to seek help as the stigma surrounding mental health declines.

“While welcoming the significant step forward, I am aware there is much work still to do. That’s why we are continuing to focus on making further improvements through our 10-year Mental Health Strategy.”



Chris Kirkland tells his story

A BBC Scotland video showing Chris Kirkland, a pro football player relating his story of he struggles with anxiety & depression.







Depression can cause a range of different symptoms. Some of them are regularly talked about. Many of them are not.Whatever symptoms we are experiencing, we are not alone. There are many other people all over the world who share the same struggles that we do.13 More Symptoms of Depression We Never Talk About


We can feel completely paralysed and unable to make decisions. They often aren’t particularly difficult decisions. It could be something as straightforward as deciding which jumper to wear. But our brains feel so slow and clogged up that we are unable to decide anything at all.


Although we often struggle socially, we can also dread being alone. When alone our thoughts and feelings can feel amplified. Without the distraction of other people, they can become completely overwhelming and all-consuming.


Sometimes we get stuck. We might sit on the toilet and not move for half an hour. Sometimes we will drive home and then stay in our car, on the drive, for a while before making it into the house. We might run a bath and sit in it until it goes cold. Our body feels heavy and we just don’t have the energy or motivation to move.


Many people left their hiding in bathroom days behind once they left school. But we will often find ourselves diving for the nearest toilet for a bit of a break from the world. It can be at social situations, when out for a meal, when in town, or somewhere else. Sometimes we just need a bit of a break from the world, and a little bit of breathing space.


We often struggle with social situations when we’re low. We don’t know what to do or say. We often don’t feel part of the group of people we’re with. We struggle to concentrate enough to follow conversations. We feel like we’re bad company and like people are ‘putting up’ with us. We feel like people don’t want us around. So we isolate ourselves. We stay away from people. To protect ourselves to some extent, but also to protect those around us.


Sometimes we want to cry, but we can’t. Sometimes we want to talk, but we feel mute. Sometimes we want to be creative, but our creativity has all dried up. We rarely have the words, colours, or music to match our feelings. We don’t know how to help others understand what’s going on inside our heads. So we are silent.


We stop caring about whether we live or die. We don’t look when we cross the road. We don’t take as much care as we should when driving our car or riding our bike. We walk through a risky bit of town, in the dark, by ourselves. We don’t wear our bike helmet. We completely stop caring about our own personal safety.


From the outside, it can be hard to understand why we wouldn’t take medication designed to help us feel better. But taking medication can be really hard – sometimes it can feel impossible. We feel hopeless, so trying medication can feel pointless. We don’t care about ourselves. We feel as though we deserve to feel rubbish because we are a bad person. We sometimes forget doses.

It can be really scary taking medication, too, because we don’t know how it will affect us. It might have unpleasant side effects, and results aren’t guaranteed. Sometimes we just get fed up of relying on medication to live.


We can experience paranoid and irrational thoughts. We become paranoid that we have done something wrong at work, even if nobody has done or said anything to cause us to think that. We can become irrational and get over-emotional about things that we know don’t really matter. We often know that our thoughts are somewhat irrational but still struggle to stop them or control them.


Sometimes we see or hear things that aren’t there. We might know they’re not there ourselves, or someone else might help us to realise. It can be really scary because it can feel as though we are unable to trust ourselves.


Depression slows us down. It can slow down our thinking. It can slow down our speech. It can slow down our movements. Sometimes this is obvious to those around us. It can be frustrating because our brains and bodies feel like they don’t work well enough for us to do the things we need to do.


There are times when we talk too much or too quickly. We want to hide how low we’re feeling or don’t want others to know that we’re struggling, so we over-do it. Sometimes, we don’t want to admit to ourselves that we’re struggling. So we stay super-busy and appear exceptionally cheerful to try and hide what’s really going on.


We wake up exhausted. We go to work exhausted. We come home exhausted. We go to bed exhausted. We are always exhausted, however much we rest and however much we sleep. It can feel as though we are too exhausted to carry on. Too exhausted to change anything. We carry on anyway because it’s all we know to do. But we are exhausted.


Depression can cause such a range of symptoms, but help is available. Whatever we are experiencing, we are never alone. Others have felt the same way and it can get better. Life won’t always be this way.

Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.