1,000 Glasgow children in year-long wait for mental health treatment

Posted: 9th December 2021

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition say the impact of Covid-19 on the young is significant and has called on the government to create a budget for mental health.

The number of children waiting more than a year for specialist mental health care has soared during the pandemic.

In the Glasgow health board area alone 1,021 youngsters are caught up in the crisis, with experts warning they could become a lost generation unless urgent action is taken.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) has called for increased investment in mental health.

They claim that as the impact of Covid-19 on the young becomes clearer, a Scottish budget for mental health is necessary.

A spokesman for the group, made up of an alliance of leading providers of children’s services, explained: “We are urging the Scottish Government to make the forthcoming budget a budget for mental health for our children and young people.

“For some time we have raised concerns over a potential lost generation of vulnerable children and young people, whose mental health is being impacted even further by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is more important than ever that children can access the support they need, when they need it, irrespective of where they live.”

The new figures from Public Health Scotland indicate that at the end of September this year 1,978 children and young people across Scotland were waiting more than a year for specialist NHS child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) – double the number in 2020. They also account for 16.7 per cent of those waiting for specialist treatment.

While 3,792 children and young people were treated over the period July to September this year, only 78.6 per cent were seen within the Scottish Government’s waiting time target for the NHS of 18 weeks from referral to treatment, with nine out of 10 health boards failing to meet the target.

In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley this figure fell to 75.5 per cent, but was by no means the worst in the country in percentage terms with neighbouring Lanarkshire achieving only 68.3 per cent and Borders just 33.3 per cent.

The coalition further claim mental health services were at unprecedented levels even before the pandemic and have also called for a renewed focus on expanded prevention and early intervention services, reducing the need for referral to costly specialist CAMHS.

It has also called for greater partnership working between the public, private and third sectors as well as greater awareness of the services on offer, especially those at a community level.

Source: Glasgow Live, December 2021

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