A strategy which aims to improve people’s mental health and well-being has been launched in Scotland.
The issue is one of the top public health challenges in Europe, according to public health minister Michael Matheson.
The Scottish government has 36 commitments in its new Mental Health Strategy for Scotland: 2012-2015.
Mr Matheson said: “In Scotland we are proud of what we have already achieved in promoting rights and recovery, addressing stigma and improving outcomes for people who use services and their carers, ensuring people receive more effective quality care and treatment, more quickly than ever before.
“We must now increase the pace of change and focus on delivering improvements which we believe will have the maximum possible impact across the whole population.”
Key commitments are: providing faster access to mental health services for younger people; providing faster access to psychological therapies; and doing work to reduce and prevent suicide.
There is a strong focus on actions that people can take for themselves and with their communities to maintain and improve their own health, the government says.
Mental disorders are estimated to affect more than one-third of the population every year, the most common of these being depression and anxiety, the publication states.
It also says the ageing population means more people have dementia: 5 per cent of over-65s and 20 per cent of over-80s.
Joyce Mouriki, chair of Vox, a national mental health service-user organisation, said: “Vox are delighted that the new mental health strategy includes a number of commitments that our members identified during our joint consultation with the government and have been keen to see progressed, such as faster access to psychological therapies, crises response, peer support, social prescribing, and employment.
“We hope very much that the strategy will improve the lives of those who experience mental health problems, and look forward to our continued involvement in the process of making positive change.”