I've called for support for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to be doubled as the party revealed children in Edinburgh treated for mental ill health in 2015/16 waited more than two years to be seen.
The longest wait for CAMHS treatment in other health board areas include a child who waited for 96 weeks in NHS Tayside, and another case where a patient waited 91 weeks in Fife.
In our submission to the mental health consultation, I called for:
- A doubling of funding for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).Two new CAMHS centres to be built in Aberdeen and Inverness to prevent vulnerable young people being forced to travel as far south as Dundee for treatment.
- A boost for perinatal mental health care.
- An expansion of mental health provision in primary care, with 960 mental health professionals co-located with GPs.
These shocking cases underline the need for a step change in the way that we support mental health services in Scotland, and CAMHS in particular. No child should be left stranded on a waiting list for two years. As a parent I cannot imagine what it would be like to see your child struggling for that length of time without getting the help they needed.
Doubling the resources that we put into CAMHS would not be a silver bullet for mental health services. But it is entirely necessary and would be a positive start.
Scotland’s previous mental health strategy expired at the end of last year and the allocation of tens of millions of pounds of funding for mental health services has been delayed as a result.
This is further proof that a step change in how we treat mental health is long overdue.
Tinkering around the edges won’t ensure help is available when and where people need it.
That is why the Scottish Government should start by adopting our ambitious plans that will end the scandal of children waiting years for treatment and ensure GP practices are better equipped to treat those suffering mental ill health.