The Scottish Government recently published its Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. As part of the development of the strategy they held a consultation process. The consultation asked people in Scotland to give their views on what the strategy should look like. Last year CAPS collective advocacy groups responded to the consultation. They spoke about the way that the practical aspects of living our lives impacts on our mental health. For example, they mentioned poverty and the need for better access to benefits and housing. They also stressed that the views of people who have experience of mental health issues should shape services.
The strategy touches on some of the issues raised by the collective advocacy groups who responded to the consultation.
The Scottish Government states that one of the principles of the new strategy is that services should be ‘informed by the voice of people with lived experience and practitioners, including marginalised groups, children and young people.’ One of the outcomes is ‘better informed policy, support, care and treatment, shaped by people with lived experience and practitioners, with a focus on quality and recovery.’
They also state a commitment to tackle mental health inequalities. They give an outline of inequality in Scotland and the reasons why certain groups may face discrimination.
‘Experiencing minority stress, racism, discrimination and trauma has a significant negative impact on mental health and wellbeing and can disproportionately impact lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, minority ethnic groups, and disabled people. LGBTI and minority ethnic people also have reported that staff can lack cultural competency, sensitivity and understanding of their specific needs.’
People with lived experience of mental health issues involved with CAPS will continue to hold government and services to account. Through collective advocacy they will raise their voices about what’s important to them.