I was very disappointed to note that the Scottish Government’s new strategy on preventing suicide, published on Tuesday, does not make any specific reference to young people.
According to statistics from NHS Health Scotland, suicide is a leading cause of death among young men in Scotland.
This stark reality makes the omission of any recommendations specifically targeted at young people, and young men in particular, all the more surprising and concerning.
A key issue around support for vulnerable young people is waiting times for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) which currently stands at 26 weeks from referral to treatment.
We are aware of the Scottish Government’s commitment to reduce this waiting time to 18 weeks by the end of next year, however, despite this pledge, young people who need treatment for significant mental health issues will still have to wait months to access vital support.
There is little mention in the strategy of community-based support, which does so much to help young people and their families.
Although the National Agency for Youth Work welcomes the clear intention behind this strategy, we would seek clarification from the Scottish Government that this strategy will offer targeted support that is tailored to the particular needs of those young people who may be at risk.
YouthLink Scotland, National Agency for Youth Work