Our History

SAMH has represented the voice of people most affected by mental health issues in Scotland for more than 90 years.

SAMH was founded in 1923 to provide support to a wide network of Local Associations for mental health.

From the mid 1950’s and into the 60’s our activities centred on public education through lectures, courses and conferences.

Our records show that from 1976 we shifted the focus of our activities to include representing the interests of people with mental health problems. The campaigning side of SAMH is very much at the forefront of our activities today.

In 1983 we opened our first service, Sprout Market Garden; a horticultural project where people with mental health problems could gain work experience. The following year, SAMH's first Supported Accommodation project was set up in Livingston, West Lothian. It is hard to believe that as recently as 1984, SAMH only employed three members of staff.

There followed a period of gradual and steady growth in the organisation until 1988. At this time a combination of Sir Roy Griffith's report on care in the community and the introduction of the Employment Training Programme, saw the organisation embark on a period of exponential growth. Later, SAMH successfully secured substantial European Social Fund monies, which combined with the introduction of the NHS and Community Care Act, permitted the organisation to continue to develop new services.

Today we still run thriving horticultural projects that operate amongst our 60 services in communities across Scotland. SAMH services are person centred and based on an ethos of recovery. We provide mental health social care support, homelessness, addictions and employment services, among many others.

These services, together with our national programme work in See Me, respectme, suicide prevention, sport and physical activity; inform our policy and campaign work to influence positive and social change in Scotland.

Our work continues under three strategic goals:

  • Being there for people
  • Promoting Good Mental Health
  • Ending Stigma and Discrimination

Helping yourself

Good mental wellbeing – some people call it happiness – is about more than avoiding mental health problems. It means feeling good and functioning well.

Use our wellbeing tool

Passionate about young people’s mental health? Sign up to the ‘Going To Be’ campaign and join thousands of others as we work to create positive change for young people in Scotland.

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