Gartnavel Royal Mental Hospital at Anniesland in Glasgow.
By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Labour has today warned of a ‘mental health crisis’ among Scotland’s young people, as new CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) statistics have revealed the scale of the challenge facing the NHS.
Today’s statistics have revealed that only 72.5 per cent of children and young people seen had waited less than 18 weeks, despite the Scottish Government standard that 90 per cent of children and young people should start treatment within 18 weeks of referral to CAMHS.
The statistics have also revealed that 2,012 young people on the CAMHS waiting list had already waited over a year for treatment and that between January and March this year, 1,703 referrals, equivalent to 22.1 per cent, were rejected.
In 2019/20 only 8.5 per cent of NHS spending in Scotland was dedicated to mental health, compared to 11.3 and 11 per cent in England and Wales respectively.
With thousands of young people waiting over a year for treatment and the government falling far short of its own standards, action must be taken to get CAMHS services back on track.
Scottish Labour deputy leader and health spokesperson Jackie Baillie, pictured left, said: “Today’s statistics plainly show that CAMHS services are in crisis. That over 2,000 young people have waited over a year for vital treatment is nothing short of a scandal.
“We know that the pandemic has had a serious impact on the mental health of our young people – the Scottish Government simply cannot continue to fail them.
“Scottish Labour is committed to delivering the mental health services that the people of Scotland deserve, including bringing mental health funding to the level provided in England and Wales.
“It’s time for the SNP to stop failing the young people of Scotland and work with Labour to deliver the CAMHS services that we need.”
Meanwhile, responding to new mental health waiting times statistics for the start of 2021 showing a record 2,452 children and 5,799 adults waiting more than year for treatment, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, pictured right, commented: “There were already a record number of children waiting over a year for treatment at the outset of the pandemic. Now that number has gone up a further 30% since Christmas alone.
“A year feels like a lifetime if you are waiting for help. Problems that can start small become crises. Frontline staff are working tirelessly but there aren’t enough of them. Vacancies are common but the number of psychiatrists in specialist training to work with young people hasn’t changed.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats led the Parliament in declaring a mental health crisis, against the wishes of the government, and secured £120 million more for mental health this year. The government now needs to show how that financial boost is being deployed to bring down these terrible waits.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats want to get you fast access to help whenever you need it through a serious expansion of the mental health workforce. The Scottish Government needs to set out when waits over a year will cease and when the 18-week target will be met for the first time ever.”