Child mental health waiting times soar

The number of young people waiting more than a year for mental health treatment has almost doubled, according to official statistics released today.


Rachael Hamilton MSP joins the Scottish Conservatives in slamming the SNP Government for ‘taking their eye off the ball’ and allowing waiting times for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable people to explode.


The latest statistics show that 1,136 children and young people were still waiting to start treatment at the end of June, compared to 581 in June 2019.


In the Scottish Borders, only 42.9 per cent of the 161 patients waiting for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at the end of June were seen within 18 weeks.


With less than 60 per cent children and young people who started treatment being seen within 18 weeks, the SNP Government have failed to hit their target for 90 per cent of children and young people to receive mental health treatment within that timeframe.


That is despite a previous commitment by the SNP in its Programme for Government to provide “speedier access to specialist care” for young people with mental health problems.


Rachael Hamilton MSP said: “These vulnerable young people have been waiting for more than a year, so this is not just an issue created by the Covid pandemic.


“I am greatly concerned that the SNP Government are failing to support some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the Scottish Borders. The Scottish Government  took its eye off the ball on mental health long before the pandemic struck. 


“18 weeks is a long time to wait for crucial mental health support. It is hugely disappointing to find out that almost 60% of young Borderers seeking CAMHs treatment waited over the 18 week target time.


“Warm words in the Programme for Government are welcome, but the reality is that the SNP are not delivering faster access to mental health support. 


“Lockdown restrictions will have only exacerbated many existing mental health issues for Borders youngsters, making the need for this to be a top priority issue even more pressing.”




Notes to Editors