United Kingdom (Scotland): HeadsUpScotland – a country case study

Anne Clarke, Candace Currie, Emma Hogg, Kate Levin, Rebecca Smith, Joanna Todd, Emma Witney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The Scottish case study focuses on the work of HeadsUpScotland because of its role in Scotland’s efforts to build social cohesion for mental well-being among adolescents. Established in 2004, this national initiative is closely connected to policy developments, works with a range of partners and plays a key role in bringing together policy and strategy at national and local levels. Adolescents’ mental health and well-being status is described, drawing on data from the HBSC study. Trends between 1994 and 2006 are outlined in terms of happiness, confidence, life satisfaction and perceived health. Gender, socioeconomic and
rural/urban differences are analysed together with the impact of family context, school environment and bullying. It is noted that in overall comparative terms, Scotland’s young people are above average in terms of happiness and below in terms of confidence and perception of body image.
The social and policy context in Scotland is described. The central place of the National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well-being in bringing together mental health improvement (promotion and prevention), anti-stigma and suicide prevention aspects is outlined alongside more recent policy developments within health, education and children’s services, such as: the new Curriculum for excellence (which includes learning outcomes for mental, social, emotional and physical health); the Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) Act (which places mental and emotional well-being at the heart of all schools’ activities); and Getting it right for every child (which reforms children’s services to promote cross-agency planning to meet all the needs of the child).
Some of the work of HeadsUpScotland is then described. The process of developing The mental health of children and young people: a framework for promotion, prevention and care is set out in detail. The role of the Framework in assisting local health, education, social work and voluntary sector services in planning and delivering integrated approaches to children and young people’s mental health across the continuum of promotion, prevention and care is outlined, together with HeadsUpScotland’s support for local strategy development and implementation. “Young Scotland in mind”, an initiative and
network for NGOs established by HeadsUpScotland, is described together with initiatives to involve children and young people. Links to European policy are also outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial cohesion for mental well-being among adolescents. WHO/HBSC Forum 2007
EditorsAlex Mathieson, Theadora Koller
Place of PublicationCopenhagen
PublisherWHO Regional Office for Europe
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9789289042888
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • adolescent
  • health behaviours
  • health promotion
  • mental disorders
  • socioeconomic factors
  • school health services
  • Europe
  • Scotland


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