Cole-Hamilton: Step change needed in approach to mental health

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said new figures which reveal the number of young people forced to wait more than a year for specialist treatment reveal a crisis in mental health services.

Mr Cole-Hamilton was commenting as new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) statistics showed 147 patients who started their treatment in this quarter waited over a year. This is an increase of almost 100 patients from the previous quarter.

A further 85 patients who are yet to start their CAMHS treatment have been waiting over a year.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“These figures reveal a crisis in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. The number of children who were forced to wait more than a year before receiving specialist care trebled over the last quarter. In Grampian and Forth Valley we are still seeing average waits that mean children are stranded without treatment months longer than should be the case.

“The big improvements we have seen in Tayside show what can be achieved. But hundreds of vulnerable children and their families are still being let down.

“The First Minister was right to appoint a dedicated Minister for Mental Health after the election. It is time that Maureen Watt got to grips with the challenges facing CAMHS and delivered the support that mental health professionals and patients need.

“We need a step change in the way that we treat mental ill health in Scotland. That means more investment, specialist CAMHS beds north of Dundee and urgent steps to finish Scotland’s long overdue mental health strategy.”

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