MENTAL HEALTH: Health boards rejecting 4 in 10 young people from services

LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has accused SNP of playing roulette with young people’s mental health.

By Lucy Ashton

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has accused health bosses of playing roulette with young people’s mental health as it emerged that almost one in four young people seeking mental health support services were rejected and that in some health boards it is as many as four out of ten.

Figures acquired by Scottish Liberal Democrats through freedom of information requests reveal:

  • Out of 37,728 referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, 8,576 were rejected by the health board (22.7%).
  • However, the proportion of cases rejected varies from 42.5% in NHS Forth Valley to 0% in NHS Western Isles which operates a “no rejected referrals” approach.
  • Other health boards rejecting a high proportion of referrals were NHS Borders (40.8), NHS Tayside (33.2%) and NHS Grampian (30.8%).
  • The largest number of rejected cases was NHS Glasgow with 2,490.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “I was shocked to discover that as many 4 in 10 young people are being rejected from mental health support services.

“Long waits and letters of rejection just aren’t good enough.

“Two years ago Scottish Liberal Democrats secured an additional £120m for mental health services but that is just the start of our ambition. No young person who seeks mental health support should come up against these road blocks.

“My party will continue to fight to double the number of specialist psychiatrists for young people in training and ensure that there is no wrong door for accessing service so that families are never sent back to the start of the process.

“This is the kind of issue that should be at the top of the First Minister’s in-tray. He failed to fix it as Health Secretary, now he needs to make amends.”

The results of the Scottish Liberal Democrat freedom of information request can be found here.


  1. Yes, but human rights are for humans, and our state doesn’t quite consider all human as humans.

    Simples really. Or as was said in Animal Farm all animals equal but some more equal than others.

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