Jackie Baillie says pandemic has made things worse on the mental health for West Dunbartonshire’s young people. Pictures by Bill Heaney
By Democrat reporter
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and the Lochside, has called for urgent action to be taken to protect and provide mental health services for young people.
This follows the publication of the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Abuse Survey which found a general negative shift in mental wellbeing between 2015 and 2018, with the average mental wellbeing score falling from 48.4 to 46.9.
According to this survey, 15 year old girls have had the lowest well-being score for the last decade, while there has been a notable increase in negative scores for boys of the same age.
Jackie Baillie has previously called for more focus and funding to be given to the delivery of mental health services – particularly during the Covid-19 crisis when demand for such services increased exponentially.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “The findings from the survey highlights the desperate need for action to be taken to support the delivery of adolescent mental health services and that’s before we consider the impact of Covid-19.
“Service providers such as CAMHS as well as third sector organisations such as Breathing Space do a fantastic job in protecting vulnerable young people but they need long term Government backing.
“We know that there has been a huge surge in demand for mental health services because of the stress of Covid-19. Young people, who have suddenly found themselves learning from home, missing exams and missing out on vital face to face support will be feeling particularly stressed and impacted.
“Before the pandemic, waiting times for mental health support were disgracefully long and thousands of young people fell through the cracks. The Scottish Government must put mental health service provision at the forefront of recovery plans and introduce an increase in funding for these vital services, both in the short and long term.”