Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has said that there has been a clear and deep failure to adequately support CAMHS services throughout the pandemic.
This comes as new figures published show that almost 1,000 children and young people have been forced to wait over a year for access to specialist mental health services.
Official statistics from Public Health Scotland reveal that 53.5% of young people waiting to be seen by CAMHS at the end of September 2020 had already waited longer than the target 18 weeks.
Figures for West Dunbartonshire show that during quarter two of 2020, only 33.9% of children were seen within the CAMHS 18-week referral target. The target for this particular indicator is 90%.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has consistently had the highest number of referrals to CAHMS services since July 2019, with 1.598 young people being reffered between July and September 2020.
Most worryingly, 959 children and young people had been on the waiting list for over a year.
The figures also showed that although referrals to CAMHS had increased again following the drop over the first lockdown, rejected referrals remained stubbornly high at 23.2%.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“These waiting times are intolerable and urgent action is needed to prevent children and young people in our community, and across Scotland, falling deeper into mental health crises.
“Before COVID-19, youth campaigners in Scotland described the growing mental health crisis as their generation’s epidemic. Life in lockdown is affecting the mental health of people of all ages and from all backgrounds.
“Mental health services for children and young people have been neglected by the SNP for too long. The Scottish Government must properly fund our NHS and support third-sector organisations who provide lifeline services, as they are needed now more than ever.”