1 November 2017
Publishing its annual report for 2016-17
today, the Mental Welfare Commission welcomed the openness of
public figures in speaking about depression and anxiety, and called
for similar public discussion of mental illnesses that are less
well known and can be misunderstood.
Graham Forbes, Chairman of the Mental Welfare Commission,
"Perhaps more than any other year, I feel there has been more
public discussion of mental illness at a national level than ever
before, but set against continued pressure on local services.
"The willingness of high profile public figures to talk about
mental illness is important and very much welcome. By speaking
openly about their own struggles with depression or anxiety, they
help others realise that mental illness can happen to anyone.
"A substantial next step would be for that kind of open
discussion to extend to those mental illnesses and diagnoses which
are less well known, and can be misunderstood. This could help
address prejudice and improve care and treatment."
The annual report highlights the work done by the Commission in
- The launch of a new Rights in Mind campaign to ensure that
patients' rights are explained to them and upheld at key points in
- The publication of the Commission's first Scotland-wide report
on medium and low security forensic wards, involving visits to 46
- New good practice guidance for health and social care staff on
supported decision making.
- A good practice guide on LGBT inclusive mental health
- Detailed annual monitoring reports on the use of the Mental
Health Act and the Adults with Incapacity Act.
From June 2016, the Commission also began publishing all of its
reports of visits to local wards and units across Scotland,
increasing transparency and sharing good practice and lessons
Colin McKay, Chief Executive of the Mental Welfare Commission
"Our job is to help ensure that people with mental illness,
learning disability or dementia are treated fairly, have their
rights respected, and have appropriate support to live the life of
their choice. This was an important year, with the Government
publishing a new mental health strategy, and changes to the Mental
Health Act giving new responsibilities to the Commission. We
welcomed these, but there is more to do.
"We worked with others to test Scotland's core legislation in
relation to mental health and incapacity and we found that what was
once world-leading is now in need of specific reform. We published
a report calling on the Scottish Government to take this agenda
forward, and this will be a priority for us in the coming
The full annual report is available