SRN respond to Independent Inquiry into Mental Health Services in Tayside

19th March 2020

Scottish Recovery Network have published a response to the Final Report of the Independent Inquiry into Mental Health Services in Tayside.

Scottish Recovery Network welcomes the publication of Trust and Respect: the Final Report of the Independent Inquiry into Mental Health Services in Tayside. We also welcome the speech given by the Minister for Mental Health, Claire Haughey, about the report, at the meeting of the Parliament on the 11 March 2020.

Many of the recommendations in the report chime with issues we have encountered over the past five years of bringing positive change in mental health services and supports through our involvement in Making Recovery Real in Dundee.

Despite challenges to working collaboratively, Making Recovery Real has developed a network of people, organisations, third sector supports and other services. It is significantly changing the dialogue and approach to recovery, mental health and wellbeing in the area.

It’s Time for Transformation

We agree with the Minister for Mental Health, Claire Haughey that the report and recommendations are a chance for change. We strongly believe that this is an opportunity for a new future for mental health in Dundee. We would however stress that this should not simply focus on the improvement of existing services but should be about transformation and embracing a new approach to developing mental health support.

Louise Christie, Acting Director of the Scottish Recovery Network commented:

Our experience of working in Dundee has shown that exciting change is already happening. We ask for support and recognition of the best practice already happening in Tayside which includes, harnessing the power of recovery story sharing to inform change and the development of peer roles and initiatives.


The recent publication of the Making Recovery Real Review showcases a range of collaborative and co-produced approaches that we believe can help shape and develop more accessible and person-centred mental health services for the area.

It’s About More Than Engagement

We were encouraged to hear the Minister recognise that there needs to be much greater genuine engagement with people who are closely involved in or affected by the delivery of mental health services. We do however feel that engagement needs to go beyond patient groups and traditional consultation.

There is a largely untapped resource of people living with mental health challenges who can contribute greatly to the design and delivery of services and supports. Our work has highlighted that we need to engage with a wide range of people, whether or not they are currently being supported by formal mental health services.

We are keen to support the commitment to making sure that future services are co-designed and co-produced. Making Recovery Real creates the conditions where people working in services and people with lived experience work and learn together. It is giving people with lived experience and often staff working in services the right to be at the centre of decision-making, service design and practice development.

Building Collaboration, Trust and Respect

We welcome the emphasis placed by the Minister on the importance of partnership working and collaboration to ensure a Tayside wide response to the report findings. We would like to highlight the impact of the Making Recovery Real approach in Moray which brought people and services together to decide what would support recovery in the area. This work informed the co-designed strategy ‘Good Mental Health for All in Moray 2016 -2026’.

The short film ‘Making Recovery Real in Moray – The Impact’ highlights some of the achievements influenced by the approach.

Making Recovery Real in Dundee is helping to realise a genuine change in power dynamics and has provided a platform for conversations about what mental health recovery really means for local people. It does not replace the traditional NHS treatment route but invites formal services to walk alongside local people, organisations and initiatives to identify and provide the best mental health support possible for that community in that community.

A participant involved in Making Recovery Real said:

What I’ve learnt from other people has opened my eyes so much and I realise how important this way of working is. I’ve never known anything like it.


This shift in power dynamics leads to much clearer communication between those working in and those accessing services and supports. It builds trust and respect and provides opportunities for sharing learning and developing recovery approaches and resources.

Ruth Brown, Team Leader, Mental Health Engagement and Involvement at DVVA and Chair of the Making Recovery Real partners group commented:

Our work with Scottish Recovery Network has been transformational for individuals who live with mental health challenges, for mental health organisations, and for our strategic planning and delivery mechanisms in the city. It enabled us to work more effectively together, to make better decisions, to keep lived experience at the centre of all we do, to maintain our focus on recovery and to invest in growing peer support.

Our Ask

Scottish Recovery Network invite NHS Tayside to build on opportunities provided by Making Recovery Real in Dundee. This will go a long way to improving engagement with people with lived experience, their families, communities and front-line practitioners.

Our experience is that this engagement enables the development of new approaches which provide support for people when they need it. Not only that but support which is truly person-centred, strengths based and focused on recovery.

We look forward to continuing to work with Making Recovery Real in Dundee and widening our collaboration to new services and organisations.

Watch the Making Recovery Real in Dundee Review Film

Want to change the way things are done in your area?

To find out more about Making Recovery Real contact the Scottish Recovery Network on 0141 240 7790 or email

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