Charity coalition calls for radical overhaul of mental health services and improved services for people with additional support needs
A coalition of children’s charities has demanded Scotland’s politicians pay more attention to the needs of vulnerable young people.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) made the call in its manifesto for May’s Scottish Parliament election.
It is campaigning for a radical overhaul of mental health services and improved services for people with additional support needs (ASN).
The coalition, made up of charities including Who Cares? Scotland and Action for Sick Children Scotland, say making ASN services more accessible and better resourced is key.
It is vital that they (the issues) are addressed if we are to give our vulnerable children and young people the best possible start in life
Over 153,000 children and young people in Scotland are classed as having ASN with this disproportionately affecting those from lower income families and areas of deprivation. The coalition says it is vital that their requirements are addressed if the educational attainment gap is to be closed.
With regard to mental health services the coalition blasted current mental health treatment options as the poor relation of physical health treatments.
It wants child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) overhauled by the next government.
Its research indicates that one in 10 children and young people have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem but 75% don’t get access to treatment.
CAMHS are overstretched, the coalition says, and unable to adequately address greatly increased demand, with a number failing to meet their 18 week target for referrals for initial assessment appointments.
Launching the manifesto, a spokesperson for the SCSC said: “The issues and recommendations highlighted in our 2016 manifesto are areas which we have been campaigning on for a long time and it is vital that they are addressed if we are to give our vulnerable children and young people the best possible start in life.
“We hope that the next Scottish Government rises to the challenge and sets a target for Scotland to be one of the best places in the world for vulnerable children and young people to grow up in.”