SRN blog: A New Year message from SRN’s Director

24th January 2017

Happy New Year and Good Mental Health

2016 was an interesting year. We saw big political changes which change how we relate to our European neighbours and our American cousins. We also saw a change to the political and fiscal powers in Scotland. Our government will now be responsible for 17% of welfare spending in Scotland and can increase this through a Scottish rate of income tax. There is every indication that changes in language around benefits (‘entitlements’) is a sea change but not in the area that really affects people working to and in recovery – we have heard of numerous cases from the Recovery community of people subject to PIP assessments and subsequent sanctions impeding their recovery or as a disincentive to recovery. This remains in the hands of the UK Government and the DWP. However we welcome any approach from the Scottish Government that recognises the inter-relationship of social care, health care and welfare on enabling and supporting recovery.

2016 was also a period of change within SRN. Simon Bradstreet has been at the forefront of recovery as a concept and had been SRN Director since 2002. In April he moved on to academia as a Research Fellow for the EMPOWER Project at the Centre for Health and Wellbeing at Glasgow University. Simon and the team’s contribution to recovery in Scotland cannot be underestimated and he leaves a significant legacy of influence over government policy and public sector practice.  SRN’s planning for the next three years is in full swing and it will build on our achievements with colleagues, peers and partners.

The next three years promise to be as exciting as they will be challenging. Additional demands on our social and health care services are already beginning to challenge what we can expect when we need help, and make our connections and relationships with others all the more important. How we define a future for ourselves is important. A Scotland where mental health is valued less than physical health is not one that values its citizens. A nation that thinks only other people – that 1 in 4 – experience distress and mental illness deludes itself. Everyone will encounter distress in their lives. No one escapes it, not even the nurse, the psychiatrist, the social worker. The means to recover, the tools and the skills, are useful to us all.

We at SRN look forward to the coming year, recognising the very real challenges in our society but confident that with your help and collaboration we will make the changes that will support recovery, wellbeing and mental health for generations to come.

 

Frank Reilly.