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Stuart Jacob comments on the worrying number of young people contacting the NSPCC’s Childline with suicidal thoughts

Stuart Jacob, Director of Falkland House School, member of the SCSC, comments on the worrying number of young people contacting the NSPCC’s Childline services with suicidal thoughts (full news article can be found on the NSPCC website here).

“The dramatic rise in the past five years of the number of children in Scotland plagued with suicidal thoughts is deeply alarming. While it is encouraging that young people are actively seeking help if they have suicidal thoughts, it is clear that we are facing an epidemic in mental health problems for our children and young people.

“There is a chronic shortage of support and we desperately need to invest more in the face of greatly increased demand, with greater investment in prevention and early intervention, preventing such thoughts going on to have a significant and potentially fatal impact.

“It should be noted that less than 0.5 per cent of the NHS budget in Scotland is spent on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and yet research indicates that 10 per cent of children and young people (aged 5 to 16) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, and 20 per cent of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year

“Only this week waiting time figures for access to CAMHS show that half of Scotland’s health boards are failing to meet Scottish Government mental health waiting time targets to receive specialist support in less than 18 weeks. Disturbingly, the number of those waiting more than a year has almost trebled, from 52 in the last quarter to 147 in this quarter.

“If we are to give our young people the best possible start in life, we need to provide those requiring it with the care and support they so vitally need, when they need it.”

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The SCSC is a collection of leading independent and third sector service providers. Members deliver specialist care and education services for children and young people with complex needs and care experience.