• June 22, 2024

Call for action on mental health treatment for minors 2023

An association of premier providers of specialized care and education to vulnerable children and young people is urging all Scottish political parties to prioritize mental health.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) made the request after fresh waiting time estimates showed that 469 children and young people had been on CAMHS waiting lists for over a year at the quarter ending March 2023.

CAMHS saw 74.2 percent of mental health patients within 18 weeks of referral, with more than a quarter waiting longer.

The NHS Recovery Plan pledged to erase waiting lists by March 2023, but the new numbers show it has failed.

At the conclusion of the quarter ending March 2023, 7,701 children and young people were still on waiting lists to start treatment, up 138 from December 2022.

This falls short of the Scottish Government’s 18-week objective for 90% of patients.

The new data are placed against a mental health emergency that will intensify due to the cost-of-living crisis and overburdened services.

The SCSC is urging a cross-party approach to prioritise mental health expenditure to prevent losing a generation of children and young people with mental health issues including anxiety, despair, and self-harm.

The alliance spokeswoman said: “The latest figures highlighting that more than 460 of our children and young people have been languishing on waiting lists for treatment for more than a year is extremely alarming.

“Disturbingly, the Scottish Government has completely failed to clear waiting lists by March 2023, leaving many thousands of children and young people waiting for treatment.

“Demand for already overstretched and under-resourced mental health services was rising before the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past decade, children’s and young people’s mental health has deteriorated, and the pandemic and cost-of-living crises are worsening it, producing a potentially lost generation of vulnerable children and youth.

“We are facing a mental health emergency and many of our children and young people are at breaking point, with stress and anxiety reaching alarming levels as they battle the long shadow of lockdown and the rising cost of living.

“We must make the delivery of adequately resourced mental health services for our children and young people an absolute priority and would urge all Scotland’s political parties to come together and make this a reality.

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