Eighty more staff to be recruited for young people's mental health services in Scotland

Written by Jenni Davidson on 19 December 2018 in News

The Scottish Government announced the £4m funding as the Taskforce on Children’s and Young People’ Mental Health published its delivery plan

Teenagers - Image credit: Michel G via Flickr

Eighty more mental health workers are to be recruited to work with children and young people in Scotland, following an injection of £4m by the Scottish Government.

The additional staff will be made up of psychologists, nurses, allied health professionals and administrators.

They will support improvements to mental health care and help reduce pressure on children’s and young people’s mental health services (CAMHS).

The funding announcement was made on the day a taskforce set up by the Scottish Government and local government body COSLA to review CAMHS published its delivery plan for improving services.

The Taskforce on Children’s and Young People’ Mental Health recommendations include cutting the target waiting time for specialist CAMHS treatment by a third to 12 weeks, treating more children and young people in primary and community care rather than referring them to CAMHS by default, and providing young people and their families with more information on how the system works and what to expect from mental health services.

The taskforce was created in response to an audit of rejected CAMHS referrals carried out by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and NHS Information Services Division on behalf of the Scottish Government.

It is chaired by clinical psychologist Dr Dame Denise Coia.

Alongside this, the Youth Commission on Mental Health Services, made up of young people, is carrying out a 15-month study into CAMHS and will recommend improvements to ministers next year.

In its programme for government for 2018/19, the Scottish Government committed to spending an extra £250m a year on mental health services, including providing school nurses and counsellors in secondary schools, colleges and universities; supporting expectant and new mothers; and providing mental health training for teachers.

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey announced the additional funding during a visit with Coia to The Junction, a centre providing health services and support to young people in north Edinburgh.

Haughey said: “Across Scotland, talented and dedicated mental health staff provide high quality care to young people and are seeing more people than ever.

“However, our services face a number of challenges, and in particular waiting times for specialist care are unacceptable.

“That is why we are investing an additional £4 million in CAMHS staff, who will be instrumental in supporting new services and reducing pressure on the system.

“We have not shied away from honestly discussing the issues, and appointed a taskforce to consider how to reform services.

“Their delivery plan is an ambitious programme of work that will inform the whole public sector about how we can ensure young people get the right care at the right time in the right place.”

Coia said: “After speaking to children, young people and families across Scotland, and those working in services to support them, it’s clear that our approach to children and young people’s mental health needs to be transformed.

“Our delivery plan sets out how, with the support of those working in young people’s mental health services, the taskforce can be the catalyst for that change over the next two years.’’

COSLA health and social care spokesperson Councillor Stuart Currie said: “As the delivery plan states, it is vital that we continue to focus on prevention and early intervention and building strong community responses and services.

“We are pleased that there is a strong focus on the voices of children, young people and their families.

“We look forward to seeing this work develop and jointly responding to the recommendations of the taskforce as they are made.”

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