Ground breaking mental health care explored in Scotland

Section: Health and Social Care IntegrationPolicy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 20th August 2018

An innovative European approach to supporting people experiencing mental health problems is being considered by Scottish experts.

Open Dialogue is a model of mental health care pioneered in Finland and subsequently delivered in countries around the world. The model emphasises the inclusion of the person’s family or social network in decision making alongside a consistent team of staff who are trained in family therapy, mindfulness and related psychological skills. Open Dialogue has had striking outcomes in Finland, with 78 per cent of participants returning to full employment or study after two years, compared to 9% of people in the UK who have experienced mental health crises.

The Health and Social Care AcademySee Me (this link will take you away from our website) and Support in Mind Scotland (this link will take you away from our website) are co-producing an event in Edinburgh on 5 September 2018 which will consider the transformational potential of the approach for people in Scotland. The event will draw upon experts and people with personal experience of mental healthcare in Scotland.  Speakers will include Dr Russell Razzaque, a London based psychiatrist with twenty years’ experience. Participants will also hear from people with lived experience of mental health problems and unpaid carers with experience of the approach, as well as representatives of NHS Kent and Medway, who are currently trialing Open Dialogue.

Professor Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE), noted: “There is a clear need for mental healthcare that centres around the people experiencing the crises and takes their needs into account. Open Dialogue has had amazing results elsewhere in the world and this is a great opportunity to see how Scotland can build upon its successes.”

Dr Russell Razzaque adds “Open Dialogue is one of the most promising models of mental healthcare developed in years. In services around the world it has been shown to reduce chronicity, improve long term outcomes and also give service users and their families more control over their own care. The English ODDESSI trial will be the largest evaluation of Open Dialogue in the world to date and, if anything like the gains seen elsewhere are replicated, then we believe it will be a game changer for mental health services across the U.K., which we hope could have a major impact on Scottish services too.”

To express an interest in attending the event, please email

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