Budget for mental health needed to help children across Scotland

Child mental health web

Campaigners want to see funding for youth services tripled to meet an increase in demand for mental health support

7th December 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Third sector groups are leading the call for youth mental health funding to be tripled.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) wants the Scottish Government to deliver a budget for mental health next week.

The group - which consists of independent and third sector children’s service providers - wants to see an additional £100 million annual investment in mental health services for children and young people, almost tripling the current budget. 

The call from the campaigning group comes after figures obtained in the answer to a Parliamentary Question indicate that only 0.48% of the NHS budget is spent on specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), amounting to around £54 million.

This is despite recent research which indicates that 10% of children and young people (aged five to 16) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem (around three in every classroom), with half of mental health problems established by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24.  

Scottish Children’s Services Coalition member Kenny Graham said that action needs to be taken to provide adequate support for the increasing numbers of children who need mental health support.

He said: “There must be a radical transformation of our mental health services, with a focus on preventing such problems arising in the first place and intervening early, especially when we know that half of all mental health problems begin before the age of 14.

“With mental health and the issues associated with it representing one of the greatest public health challenges of our time, we must ensure that children and young people are able to get the care and support they need, when they need it. This includes investing in greater community support and support at school, reducing the need for referral to specialist CAMHS.”