The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition is pleased to support Children’s Mental Health Week, running from today (February 6th) until Sunday 12th February. Hosted by children’s mental health charity Place2Be, the theme this year is 'spread a little kindness’.
There are many pressures of modern day life that can affect a child’s mental wellbeing, from struggling in class to falling out with friends, and as we know it is estimated that 50% of all mental health problems are established by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24.
A small gesture, such as offering a helping hand, can make a big difference. However, if specialist help is required we must ensure that there is quick access to effective treatment, and children get the help they need, when they need it.
While we are making progress on the issue of waiting times for access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), there is still a long way to go. Over the last quarter (July to September 2016) half of Scotland’s health boards failed to meet the Scottish Government’s 18 week waiting time target and almost a quarter (23%) of those referred to CAMHS were not accepted for treatment. We also must ensure that the mental health needs of children with learning disability are met and that CAMHS for these children are at least equally accessible as CAMHS for other children.
Initiatives such as Children’s Mental Health Week go a long way in raising awareness and in creating an open discussion around mental health. We hope that this week will help to embolden children to open up about problems they may be facing and also encourage people to be a little kinder to each other, because no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:
Tom McGhee, Managing Director, Spark of Genius
Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive, Who Cares? Scotland
Sophie Pilgrim, Director, Kindred Scotland
Stuart Jacob, Director, Falkland House School
Niall Kelly, Managing Director, Young Foundations
Liz May, National Co-ordinator, Action for Sick Children Scotland