Lothian children left waiting for mental help

Miles Briggs MSP (Con).
Miles Briggs MSP (Con).

In the last 12 months 178 children and young people had to wait over a year for mental health services in Lothian.

In September 2018, the latest month that data has been provided, 26 young people in Lothian were waiting over a year to be seen by a mental health professional. This makes up 81.25 per cent of all young people waiting over a year for mental health services in Scotland (32).

Lothian MSP Miles Briggs (Con) has called for the CAMHS waiting times crisis to be resolved by next year.

Last month in parliament there was a statement on mental health services with cross party agreement that mental health services needed to improve.

The Scottish Government also announced £4 million for improving CAMHS.

Mr Briggs said: “One of the hardest aspects of being an MSP is people coming to my advice surgeries desperate to get mental health support for their children.

“I have parents in Lothian who have been told by GPs to go private to access support for their children as the NHS won’t see them. Children who are self-harming and having suicidal thoughts being told to wait over a year.

“Parents and families I represent are beyond wanting an apology from SNP Minsters. After 11 years in office they feel totally abandoned by this SNP Government with the situation in NHS Lothian getting worst.

“This is Scotland’s young people, Scotland’s future.

“The CAMHS waiting times crisis in NHS Lothian must be resolved in 2019.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We’re clear that we must continue to build services in the community to meet significantly rising demand and take pressure off specialist services.

“That is why we’re investing an additional £250 million into mental health to support measures such as counsellors in every secondary school, improved training for teachers, and more nurses in schools and counsellors in universities and colleges.

“We are also investing £4m to recruit 80 additional CAMHS staff to build capacity.

“While new waits for specialist treatment still fall well short of our expectations, half of children and young people are starting treatment within 12 weeks.

“Any young person referred to mental health services should be assessed in the period prior to treatment starting, and we expect health boards to provide appropriate support during that period.”