Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland

Thistle House
91 Haymarket Terrace
EH12 5HE

Tel: (Freephone service users/carers) 0800 389 6809, (Office) 0131 313 8777


The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland is an independent organisation, made up of people with understanding and experience of mental health and learning disability. It works to safeguard the rights and welfare of everyone with a mental disorder. Staff have a background in healthcare, social work or the law. Some are carers or have used mental health or learning disability services themselves.

The Commission believes that everyone with a mental illness, learning disability or other mental disorder should:

  • Be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Have the right to treatment that's allowed by law and fully meets professional standards.
  • Have the right to live free from abuse, neglect or discrimination.
  • Get the care and treatment that best suits his or her needs and be enabled to lead as fulfilling a life as possible.

The Commission provides guidance to people who provide and use mental health and learning disability services:

  • It runs a freephone line for service users, carers and independent advocates. The freephone line helps people to understand what the law says about their care and treatment.
  • For service providers, the Commission provides advice and information about how the Act works. They can help with ethical issues and provide guidance to help promote high professional standards in mental health and learning disability care.

The Commission finds out whether individual treatment is in line with the law and practices it knows works well:

  • The Commission meets people who use and provide mental health and learning disability services. They visit some people who are receiving care and treatment under the Act. 
  • People working at the Commission also meet with carers, advocacy workers, voluntary organisations and other agencies involved in caring for and treating people.
  • Commission staff check paperwork and records of people who are being cared for or treated under mental health law. If they think there's a problem they will follow it up.
  • The Commission monitors the use of safeguarded treatments such artificial feeding and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and makes sure these are in a person's best interest.

The Commission challenges those who provide services for people with a mental illness or learning disability, to make sure they provide the highest standards of care:

  • They hold inquiries into cases when they think something might have gone seriously wrong in a person's care.
  • Commission staff identify practices that work well and encourage people involved in mental health and learning disability services to use them.
  • They produce best practice guidance for people who provide services.

The Commission collects and shares information on how mental health law is being applied across Scotland:

  • They are notified of emergency, short-term and long-term orders under the Act.
  • They talk to people being cared for and treated under these laws to find out about the experience of service users.

The commission has a strong voice in how services and policies are developed:

  • They have regular contact with the Scottish Executive, Ministers and MSPs. They also have links with professional and voluntary organisations and work with them to influence how policies are developed and put into practice.

Last updated on 28/08/2015

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