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Health of Scotland’s population - Mental Health


Mental Health


The Scottish Government's ten year Mental Health Strategy1 was published in March 2017. It contains 40 specific actions, each of which is intended to tackle a specific issue, while the strategy as a whole intends to make a positive and meaningful difference to people with mental health issues.

Mental wellbeing is measured in the Scottish Health Survey using the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS).  This asks respondents to read 14 separate statements describing feelings relating to mental wellbeing, and indicate how often they have felt this way over the last two weeks, using a 5 point scale (ranging from none of the time to all of the time). The overall score is calculated by totalling the scores for each item (minimum possible score is 14 and the maximum is 70); the higher a person's score, the better their level of mental wellbeing.

WEMWBS mean scores for both men and women have been relatively static since 2008, with only minor, non significant fluctuations observed.  In 2016, the average mean WEMWBS score for both men and women (aged 16 and over) was 49.8. 

As seen in previous years, levels of wellbeing varied across age groups.  Men aged 34-44 had the lowest mean score of all age groups, while women aged 64-74 had the highest mean score.


WEMWBS mean score by gender and age group

WEMWBS scores vary by age group and gender


View chart data

1. Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027 - a ten year vision, Edinburgh: Scottish Government, 2017.

Source: Scottish Health Survey (SHeS)

The Scottish Government has established a National Indicator to improve mental wellbeing. The latest data can be found on the Scotland Performs Website.

Further Information