Mental health problems stalk Scots children

Depressed kid

Mental ill health is getting worse for children because Scotland has no national strategy to tackle the problem 

14th February 2017 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Scotland’s children remain “at risk” because they have no access to adequate mental health provision, leading charities have warned.

Many mental health problems start before children reach 15 years old but Scotland still remains the only UK country without a national strategy for school-based counselling services, according to the Scottish Children's Services Coalition (SCSC).

The Scottish Youth Parliament, Penumbra, Place2Be and Children in Scotland are also supporting the call for support to be improved in all schools and in the community.

The coalition says one fifth of children referred to NHS Scotland's mental health counselling service, Camhs, are not seen within an 18-week target.

Cosla, the body representing local authorities, acknowledged  that budget cuts had led to a shortage of mental health workers and educational psychologists.

A spokesman said: "Scotland's councils take the health and well-being of the children in our schools very seriously indeed.

"Councils employ educational psychologists and these officers are shared across the local authority area - focusing primarily on the children who need them, wherever they are based.

"We have a shortage of educational psychologists in Scotland at the present time and we are working jointly with the Scottish government to consider solutions to the issue.

"The mental health of our young people is a priority for Cosla and we know that it takes a range of professional officers to support our young people."

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21st February 2017 by Niki Powers

We are a charity who provide therapeutic support for young people in Edinburgh, to help prevent more serious ill health and to support them to increase positive coping strategies. I believe that we could really help reduce the pressure and burden on CAMHS services and provide excellent value for money. Our service is locally accessible and young people friendly. Young people and professionals evaluate our services very highly. But, in real terms our funding has been reduced. I think more mental health money should be diverted to voluntary sector agencies who have relationships with local people and who could provide outstanding value for money and who would work in partnership with statutory services to ensure timely and accessible support.