The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition launches petition citing services are at “breaking point”
A coalition of children’s service providers has launched a petition, calling on the Scottish Government to plough £25 million into mental health services for vulnerable children and young people.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) has launched the petition on the 38 Degrees website, saying the extra funding for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), could help address and improve significantly key problem areas including diagnosis and waiting times and an increase on the number of children and young people being sent to non-specialist units.
The £25 million figure is equal to Scotland’s share of extra funding announced by the UK government in the budget for mental health services.
Member of the SCSC and director of Kindred Scotland Sophie Pilgrim commented: “At the moment mental health services in Scotland are at breaking point, with 20% of children and young people having a mental health problem in any given year, and about 10% at any one time.
“This is putting medical professionals under incredible pressure, with the number of referrals for specialist child and adolescent mental health services increasing by 60% over the last two years.
A lack of resources in the face of dramatically increasing demand means that we are often asking medical staff to work with one hand tied behind their back
“Our health professionals do fantastic work to help people suffering from mental ill health, but this is often seen as a poor relation when compared with physical health.
“A lack of resources in the face of dramatically increasing demand means that we are often asking medical staff to work with one hand tied behind their back. Due to a lack of adequate provision hundreds of vulnerable children and young people are being treated in unsuitable adult or paediatric wards, or being sent miles away.
“We urge that the Scottish Government takes this opportunity to go that extra mile and ensure that we have a range of mental health services available in Scotland for those who so vitally need it.”
Of Scotland’s 14 health boards, the SCSC says half are failing to meet an 18-week Scottish Government waiting time target for treatment from CAMHS which came into force in December 2014 and five are failing to meet a 26-week target dating from March 2013.
Figures from the Mental Welfare Commission show the number of children and young people being admitted to non-specialist units such as adult and paediatric wards has increased from 177 last year to 202.
The SCSC is also calling for secure/locked provision in Scotland for under 18s as young people needing these facilities are currently being treated in unsuitable adult or paediatric wards, or being sent miles away from their families to wards in England.
You can sign the petition at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/investinmentalhealthscot.