Mental health services face meltdown

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AS WE mark World Mental Health Day today we too share many of the concerns raised by the Mental Welfare Commission over the number of children being admitted to non-specialist mental health units such as adult wards, as well as a disturbing reduction in the number of mental health officers. 

As a coalition of leading independent and third-sector children and young people’s service providers, we are seeking urgent Scottish Government action to remedy this situation, which comes on the back of an increasing number of referrals for mental health services. 

Figures from the Information Services Division indicate that most health boards are failing to meet a 26-week waiting time target for treatment from specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) (introduced in March 2013) and are, therefore, clearly at risk of missing a Scottish Government target of an 18-week waiting time, which comes into force in ­December. 

As the number of referrals increases and the number of mental health officers drops, mental health services are facing meltdown, leading to those children and young ­people requiring these services missing out.

Scottish children are indeed being sent hundreds of miles to specialist units in England because of a lack of in-patient provision in Scotland.

We are at a crisis point and high-level strategic management is required in order to get a grip on the situation and make these services fit for purpose.

That is why, on World Mental Health Day, we are renewing our plea to the Scottish Government, local authorities and NHS boards to act now before this situation gets any worse.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, which comprises of:

Sophie Pilgrim

Director, Kindred Scotland

Sophie Dow

Founder, Mindroom

Tom McGhee

Managing director

Spark of Genius

Duncan Dunlop

Chief executive, Who Cares? Scotland

Stuart Jacob

Falkland House School

Niall Kelly

Managing director
Young Foundations