Outside the Box Development Support


Making Sense of Mental Health Law

Outside the Box has been working with partners to develop more resources that help people from the BME communities understand their rights under the mental health laws.

The partner organisations are:

• NHS Health Scotland
• The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
• The Scottish Government.

The relevant laws are:

• Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. This law says how you can be treated if you have a mental health problem. It also tells you and your carers what their rights are.
• Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. This law helps you to make decisions and manage different areas of your life, including safe guarding your money. This law will be important to you when you can't make important decisions for yourself.

During the project the Scottish Government increased the range of languages in which they provided information about the laws.

The material that we gathered was used by the Mental Welfare Commission to develop the information they provide for all people affected by the laws and for their family and friends.

The project fed into the wider work of NHS Health Scotland to raise awareness and promote good practice around mental health and race equality.

We developed a short tool to help people think about their mental health and wellbeing – what they could do to keep themselves well and where they needed extra support.

NHS Health Scotland launched a new site in May 2011: Talking mental health

It is a website for mental health professionals. It was developed from the Making Sense project.

The website offers simple, accessible descriptions of difficult mental health and legal information. It was designed for staff working in mental health services and can be used to create and print customised information sheets about mental health and the law for service users and carers. The material is designed to be easily translated and there is essential information in 10 community languages.


  • Making Sense - Life Domain Circle


  • Talking Mental Health - web resource information


Further Resources

  • Making Sense of Mental Health Law