As a coalition whose members deliver specialist care and education services for children and young people with complex needs, we were delighted to see our campaign for increased investment in child and adolescent mental health services has delivered a successful outcome, with the recent announcement of £85m in additional funding by the Scottish Government.
This additional funding, to be spent on mental health services over the next 5 years, will go some way to address services which are proving incredibly stretched. This is against the background of a significant increase in demand, with the number of referrals for specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) increasing by 60% over the last two years.
We do not dispute that our health professionals do fantastic work to help people suffering from mental ill health, but a lack of resources in the face of a dramatically increased demand means that we are often asking medical staff to work with one hand tied behind their back.
With half of Scotland's Health Boards failing to meet waiting time targets to access CAMHS that came into force at the end of last year, we are clearly pleased to see that part of this funding will be used to bring down these waiting times.
We would like to thank those many people who signed our petition for taking the time to do this and hope to continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that the mental health services many young people in Scotland so desperately need are being provided.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:
Sophie Pilgrim, Director, Kindred Scotland
Tom McGhee, Managing Director, Spark of Genius
Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive, Who Cares? Scotland
Stuart Jacob, Director, Falkland House School
Niall Kelly, Managing Director, Young Foundations