By Democrat reporter
Figures released this week have shown that young people in Greater Glasgow and Clyde are still waiting too long for specialist mental health treatment.
This is despite an effort by West Dunbartonshire Council leader Jonathan McColl, who himself suffers from a serious mental health disorder, to raise awareness of the plight of young people in this regard.
During 2019, 746 children and young people who were seen by the CAMHS services in Greater Glasgow and Clyde had waited more than 18 weeks; of those, 26 had been waiting more year.
Statistics from this week also showed that at the end of December 2019 there were a further 3749 children and young people still waiting for their CAMHS appointment. 1410 had already been waiting longer than the four and half month target.
Fifty three of them had been on the waiting list for over a year. Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board has the highest number of children and young people still waiting for their CAMHS appointment out of every health board in Scotland.
This week, Childline reported a sharp increase in the number of young people contacting them regarding mental health issues.
NSPCC Scotland has reported that Childline is dealing with up to five calls a day from young people about mental health issues and that counselling sessions in Scotland have soared by 90 per cent from three years ago.
Jackie Baillie, the MSP for Dumbarton, Helensburgh and Lomond, pictured left, said: “These figures reveal the human cost of the SNP’s mismanagement of our NHS and mental health services.
“It is unacceptable that almost 4000 children and young people in and around my constituency are still waiting for their much needed appointment with CAMHS. It is even more shocking that 1410 have been waiting for more than 18 weeks and that 53 have been kept waiting for over a year.
“Children and young people in West Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh are being neglected and their health is in decline due to the SNP’s mismanagement of our NHS with waiting times getting longer and delayed discharge rates rising.
“It is utterly unacceptable that these young people are having to pay the price for Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s incompetence.
“Rates of suicide and poor mental health amongst young people are on the rise in Scotland and organisations such as NSPCC are shouldering the burden of vastly increased demand.
“I will continue to call on the Scottish Government to properly fund our life-saving services so that children and young people in my constituency receive the care and support that they need.”
Cllr McColl, who told a journalist that he was so badly affected bi-polar disorder that he twice attempted to take his own life, claims the disorder which is ongoing does not prevent him from leading the Council.
Although others have expressed privately that they think their should be certain protocols in place to safeguard the organisations for which people with mental health problems work.
Bill Heaney, editor of The Democrat, said: “I agree that people suffering from mental healths problems should not be stigmatized. I have been criticised for even mentioning mental health problems in relations to the council leader.
“However, because I have sympathy for people with mental health problems does not mean I am content to see them holding important positions without medical and other tests which prove they are fit to do so.”